Accept an Oscar at the Academy Museum

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The museum combines the beauty of the history of film magic with an engaging experience for the public, including the possibility of winning an Oscar. (Photo courtesy of the Académie du Cinéma)

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the new 300,000 square foot Academy of Motion Pictures museum on the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax is a wonderful center honoring the arts and sciences of film itself. The opening press event held on September 21 included opening remarks from a large number of accomplished actors, executives and Piano himself, as well as opportunities to tour all of the exhibits. and to meet curators and screenings of selected short films. The participants had the full museum experience. Open September 30 to the general public, the museum – which could become a tourist staple in Los Angeles – will allow people to appreciate the process and behind-the-scenes efforts of making a film.

Named after Sidney Poitier, the entrance and main hall of the museum include the souvenir shop and Fanny’s, a restaurant and cafe named after Barbara Streisand’s Oscar-winning character in “Funny Girl” (1968). The idea for this museum has been in the works for a long time.

“Since 1929, when the Academy’s first board of directors and its president Douglas Fairbanks dreamed of a museum dedicated to cinema, our governors over the decades have sought to make that dream come true,” said David Rubin, president of the Academy.

As this vision drew closer to reality, many people, corporations, foundations and government entities came together to build the museum.

“I wanted to support the Academy Museum to remind future generations of the legends that paved the roads for all of us,” Oprah Winfrey said in a video released during the press conference’s opening address highlighting the benefactors of the museum. “When I heard that the main hall of the museum was going to be named after Sidney Poitier, I just wanted to shout for joy because, he’s not just a personal hero, he’s a hero for the Academy, the first black to win an Oscar before there was even a civil rights law, and he so deserves this space to be an honor to his name.

“Movie Stories”, the museum’s main exhibition designed by WHY architecture, is primarily divided between the Spielberg Family Gallery and the Wanda Gallery on the first and second floors of the museum, culminating in the Rolex Gallery on the third floor. From costumes to casting, through accessories and scenography and every little detail that makes up the films that audiences enjoy on screen, the museum has it all.

One of the most aesthetically charming exhibits is the limited-time “Hayao Miyazaki” exhibition, in honor of the famous animator and co-founder of the animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli, known for “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988 ), “Kiki’s Delivery Service” (1989), “Spirited Away” (2001), “Howl’s Moving Castle” (2004) and “Ponyo” (2008). With an eye-friendly blue-green color palette, the exhibition, located in the Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg Gallery, offers a glimpse of the intricate paintings done with acrylic paint or watercolor that were ultimately carefully transformed into animations. The exhibition is definitely a must see, given that so many images have never been exhibited before beyond Japan.

The exhibition, designed with the idea of ​​a child-friendly environment, reflects the themes of Studio Ghibli Films.

“From the start, the content and design of the tutorial were completely linked. And the product was a by-product of that relationship, ”said Shraddha Aryal, vice president of exhibition design and production at the museum. “It’s hilly, it’s organic, it’s fun. We had a lot of children in mind, [a] tactile quality to it.

Whether you’re older, younger, or somewhere in between, the Hayao Miyazaki exhibit manages to feel both modern and nostalgic.

A very refreshing component of the museum is the recognition of diversity in cinema.

“As a person who has dedicated himself to improving the film industry in Korea, I am proud of the truly international vision of films and filmmakers that is embedded in the academy museum,” said Miky Lee. , vice-chairman of the board of directors of the Académie museum. trustees. “Now the Academy Museum offers the public an unprecedented opportunity to connect at all times with the experiences of people around the world, as seen through their films. ”

The continuation of the “Film Stories” exhibition in the Rolex Gallery provides space to showcase a comprehensive and accomplished roster of international filmmakers. Beginning with the works of Pedro Almodóvar, the exhibition is not only extremely well-designed with vivid, modern colors, but also includes 12 screens that feature a theme or scene meaningful to the award-winning director’s remarkable work. The entire exhibition is an opportunity for viewers to learn more about filmmaking outside of the United States.

“The Path to Cinema: Highlights from the Richard Balzer Collection,” an exhibit filled with a wide variety of optical toys and pre-cinematic devices, particularly impressed Academy administrator and actor Tom Hanks.

“In the past, it was the power of a projected image telling a story in a dark room, making people like all of us want to walk into that dark room and be transported to another place,” Hanks said. “That’s what movies do, I think, each of us can remember, not just a movie that moved us, but also the cinema we saw it in, where it was. “

As exciting as the world of Hollywood and entertainment often seems, the film industry has its fair share of issues ranging from a lack of diversity to harassment in the workplace. The Academy Museum addresses these topics, displaying panels on Black Lives Matter, gender discrimination and the #MeToo movement, while also providing multiple sample films to watch to encourage further education on such topics as “Bombshell” (2019), “The Invisible War” (2012) and “I’m Not Your Negro” (2016).

The museum is obviously not afraid of difficult conversations and ensures that the right stories are shared with the public. One of the exhibits, “Backdrop: An Invisible Art,” is a 34-foot double-height installation that features the painting of Mount Rushmore used in “North by Northwest” (1959).

While the grandeur and size of this display is breathtaking and makes for a lovely photo spot, the Academy Museum tackles the controversial and painful history of Mount Rushmore. With a description of the exhibit titled “Wamaka Ogna Ke Icante” (The Heart of All That Is), the museum educates participants about the historical oppression of indigenous peoples linked to the National Memorial, especially because for the Lakota community , Mount Rushmore desecrates their sacred land.

Arguably the museum’s magnum opus is “The Oscars Experience” in the East West Bank Gallery, where attendees can experience the thrill of winning a coveted Academy Award with the purchase of a separate, additional $ 15 ticket. general admission. With simulations to represent the famous Dolby Theater where the best of cinema comes together every year, one can hold a real eight-and-a-half-pound Oscar trophy, ending the experience with a memorable, high-quality, multi-angular, straight-forward video. to their inbox a few minutes later.

It is an exciting experience, especially for those who hope to one day see themselves on the real rewards stage. I was fortunate enough to win the Best Director award (for my unreleased coming-of-age indie film), but maybe you could win for Best Adapted Screenplay or Best Animated Feature.

Built in Los Angeles, the epicenter of cinema, a visit to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is a unique and transformative experience that appeals to all cinema enthusiasts. Recognizing the diversity at the forefront of popular cinema as well as the achievements and advancements of the past, this museum is an inclusive and educational space that offers something very special to LA and moviegoers around the world.

He could be a major source of inspiration for directors, writers, actors, cinematographers, executives, musicians, costume designers and more, everywhere. The attention to accessibility and detail in every aspect of museum design leads to the multi-faceted conversations that are more than necessary in the art of filmmaking. The world of cinema is special because it has the power to make audiences feel something, and this museum is a way to make visitors from all over the world feel something very special.


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