Thursday, September 30, 2021

THE ACADEMY MUSEUM OF MOTION PICTURES OPENS AT LAST

By José Alberto Hermosillo

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

One hundred years in the making, the much-awaited opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has finally taken place in Los Angeles. The public will engage in an immersive cinematic experience - from concept, writing, directing to cinematography, costumes, set design, sound, makeup & hairstyling, as well as the actors who made Oscar history.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures facade.  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

After the presentation of the new temple of cinema to the local and international press, the reactions were exhilarating.

“A movie lover’s dream.” NPR News.

 “The Academy Museum is ready for its closeup.” CNN. 

“From ‘Oz’ to ‘Midsommar.’” LA Times. 

“From the robe of ‘Big Lebowski’ to Dorothy’s ruby slippers of “The Wizard of Oz.” USA Today.

Latinos have a notorious representation at the new Academy Museum, including Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water, Almodóvar's exhibit & the transcendental Chicano drama "Real Women Have Curves.FestivalinLA.com

“The new Academy Museum is ready to tell a more honest Hollywood history.” The Art Newspaper.

"The Wizard of Oz." Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

The Museum, like every institution of this kind, is set up in galleries called "The Stories of Cinema," and those go beyond people’s expectations and are ready to be explored. The masses will contemplate movie history as they have never seen before.

Through careful curation of materials central to the most iconic films in American culture and World Cinema, the Academy Museum has compiled a deeper narrative than what has traditionally been available to superficial views. This perspective details and explains all aspects for a crucial understanding of the art form in its fullest sense. Aiming to educate the public, the reconstruction of an earnest chronicle of the cinematic arts is fundamental.

Actor Tom Hanks, Architect Renzo Piano, Museum Director Bill Kramer.  Photos by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

Bill Kramer, the Museum's director, and President opened the press conference by describing the new anthology house as containing the most extensive film-related collection in the world. Celebrating the long-awaited structure's grand opening, he added that “Los Angeles, as the global center of moviemaking, has long desired and deserved a movie museum of this size and scale.”

Alluding to the round form of the iconic building, which has been compared to the Death Star from "Star Wars" much to the chagrin of of its famous Italian designer, Renzo Piano said, “This soap bubble will never blow up.” He further described the colossal movie house as “a flying vessel ready to land or take off.” 

David Geffen Theater - Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021
David Geffen Theater - Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

The state-of-the-art 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater, which will host limited series, premieres, and stand-alone screenings, boasts an impressive Dolby sound system sure to provide an amazing movie experience. The Zeppelin-shaped theater complex will host a wide variety of programs, such as the Oscar Frights, the animated features of Hayao Miyazaki, the Sounds of Women Composers, retrospectives, and more. 

The Academy Museum complex also includes the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater which will hold on-going screenings, lectures and retrospectives. 

Alien at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

The program of Women Composers includes screenings of “Joker,” “Tron,” “Emma,” and “Eyes Wide Shut.”

The Jane Campion film series highlights “The Piano” and “Portrait of a Lady” among others of her brilliantly directed films.

Finally, it will be super cool to watch “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “The Sixth Sense,” and “Get Out” on the big screen of the David Geffen theater.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

On press day, excited media members packed the house and learned about the curated memorabilia and film related studies, which also includes other events focused on community outreach.

On the same day, the speakers expressed their gratitude to the donors, the board of trustees, and the tireless support and guidance from the film community who enrich the Academy Museum's cultural heritage. 

In every gallery, the Museum presents a story people can relate to and tell their friends, family, and to “The Descendants,” in reference to the Alexander Payne 2011 Oscar-nominated film starring George Clooney.

Almodovar exhibit at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

At the press conference, Tom Hanks called the great structure “a Parthenon of film museums,” and the two time Academy-winning actor connected the institution to the city in which so many great movies have been made. “It matters to Los Angeles to have a film museum like this. We need to celebrate what this town has given to the world. Film is an art form that deserves to be explored in an amazing, fascinating, and inclusive place.”

David Geffen Theater at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

The Academy Museum cost $484 million dollars to build and it will answer all kinds of movie making questions - such as how far we have come and how far we are going in the making of everlasting memories?

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

The Museum's centerpiece is the recently acquired and restored original “Bruce the Shark” from the 1975 adventure/thriller film “Jaws.” Visitors can appreciate the dynamic mechanical structure from all angles of the spacious center hall.

Jaws @ The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

In acknowledgment of the controversial #OscarsSoWhite movement, due to the long-existing inequities in diversity and inclusion of the Academy Awards, the curators have given voice to a vast variety of interest groups in need of representation throughout the Museum’s galleries. While critics may contend that showcasing widely different films with nothing in common such as “Citizen Kane,” “The Way of the Dragon,” “Malcolm X,” and “Real Women Have Curves” together, the Caucasian, Asian, Afro-American, Latino, and LGBTQ communities have been represented proportionally, respectfully and adequately.

Bruce Lee at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021
Bruce Lee at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

The Asian community, for example, is represented by a spectacular and one-of-a-kind temporary exhibition on the body of work of the Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. Furthermore, the Bruce Lee exhibition feels designed to convey an energy and excitement which was the hallmark of the great martial arts icon.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

The Afro-American community also has a well-assembled Spike Lee section with memorabilia, Oscar statuettes, costumes, and other items that inspired several of the films of the famous director. The works by other African American directors are also showcased, including the wardrobes from the “Black Panther” and the horror flick “Us.”

Spike Lee exhibit at the Academy Museum
Spike Lee section at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water at the Academy Museum
"The Shape of Water." Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

Likewise, the Latino community will have much to discover in almost every gallery. At the center of the Rolex Gallery is located the gorgeous sculpture of the Amphibian Man from the Best Picture Oscar-winning “The Shape of Water” directed by Guillermo del Toro.

Emmanuel Lubezki Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

There is a special section dedicated to the three time Academy Award winning Mexican cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who won for his outstanding work in the films “Gravity,” “Birdman,” and “The Revenant.”

The statue won by Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity” appears in the Academy Awards History Gallery. The other Oscars represent a distinguished winner from each decade.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

Moreover, patrons can see the original sewing machine from the Chicano drama “Real Women Have Curves” starring Lupe Ontiveros and America Ferrera, written by Josefina Lopez.

Lupe Ontiveros & America Ferrera in "Real Women Have Curves." Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Lupe Ontiveros & America Ferrera in "Real Women Have Curves." Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021
 
In another room, the Frida Kahlo dress worn by Salma Hayek in the Mexican production “Frida” is minimalist and impressive. 
 
Frida dress
"Frida" dress at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021
 
Making Oscar history, the first Latina actress to ever win an Oscar is Rita Moreno. On display is her stunning winning dress she wore when she won the Best Supporting Actress Award for “West Side Story” in 1961.

Rita Moreno at the Museum of Motion PicturesRita Moreno's winning dress at the Museum of Motion Pictures

Latinos have a notorious representation at the new Academy Museum, including Guillermo del Toro's "The Shape of Water," Almodóvar's exhibit, and the transcendental Chicano drama "Real Women Have Curves." 
 
The Oscars Experience at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
The Oscar Experience at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021
 
As a special treat, and to feel how it would be to accept an Oscar, visitors can have their 30 seconds of fame holding an actual 8.5 oz Oscar statue in front of an audience at the Dolby Theater in the immersive high-tech video simulation Oscar Experience. A separate ticket is required which can be purchased at the box office, online or with the museum’s app. 

People can enter or “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” The Academy Museum Store will greet shoppers in the 2,600-square-foot retail space adjacent to the Sidney Poitier Grand Lobby (named after the great Afro-American actor and activist). He played the lead in "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner," and in the 1967 Best Picture-winning film “In the Heat of the Night” 

"Rocketman." Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

Costumes at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is the new house of Hollywood's most iconic characters such as E.T., Jaws, R2-D2, Alien and many more. 

The institution recounts movie history like no one before, captivating audiences from around the world with enlightenment and amusement.

The Seven Dwarfs at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021
British stop motion animation, The Farmer & Bitzer from "Shaun the Sheep Movie." Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

Japanese animation at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

Guests to the Museum will have to spend more than five hours to walk all of those enlightening and captivating galleries or they will leave with an uncanny feeling of wanting to go back for more and visit this extraordinary place regularly, because there is not enough time to see everything in one day.

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

Film-loving enthusiasts may want to become members in order to enjoy all the Museum’s benefits, including something substantial such as special screenings, premieres, discounts, lectures, and events related to the film community, in this "Our Town."


Pedro Almodóvar at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

As a programming note, ABC will air one-hour TV special on Tuesday October 12th at 10:01 PST called 'A Night in the Academy Museum.' The Academy Award-Winning actors Laura Dern and Tom Hanks invite a few good friends and colleagues to talk about the importance of creating a film museum in the City of Angeles.

E.T. at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  Photo by José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

The new destination for movie lovers is located at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in the Museum District or "Miracle Mile" - where plenty of restaurants and bars can be found. 

Before getting in that "Colossal" movie theater, you can bring the "Troop Zero" or "My Hindu Friend" to one of those fancy restaurants. At "The Square" you can ask the "Waitress," who by the way is "A Fantastic Woman," to bring you "Another Round" but don't drink too much otherwise they can end it up with "Pain and Glory," like "The Man Who Sold His Skin," "Parasite" or the "Shoplifters" who couldn't pay the bill.

The legacy of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is here to stay for future generations to come, and for the amusement and delight of film aficionados of Los Angeles and from the rest of the world.

Film critic José Alberto Hermosillo, Festival in LA ©2021

Visiting Information: www.academymuseum.org

Contact:  323 930-3000

Follow the Academy Museum on Instagram and Twitter @academymuseum & on Facebook @theacademymuseum

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