The Academy Museum is finally ready to open: Here's everything to know about it
Exhibitions showcasing beloved stars and filmmakers, iconic movie props, panels featuring Oscar winners, and more to expect from the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
Cinephiles have been waiting actual years for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures to open its doors — and barring no further delays from COVID-19 — it's finally going to happen this fall.
After being announced years earlier, the Los Angeles museum was poised to open in 2020, but the global pandemic set plans back. At long last, it now has set a date to welcome the public. Beginning Sept. 30, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will open its doors to movie lovers from around the world. But first, they'll kick things off with a slate of virtual programs this spring.
Here's everything you need to know about the Academy Museum.
Exhibitions showcasing beloved films and filmmakers
A museum's exhibitions are its core reason for being, so naturally the Academy Museum has loads of eye-catching, innovative exhibits dedicated to the history of film in the works.
The museum will be anchored by its Stories of Cinema galleries, which will change over time to reflect the constantly evolving nature of the medium of film. It will showcase a variety of experiences and perspectives on the arts and sciences of movie-making, as well as the process behind making narrative films, documentaries, and animated features.
Current exhibits will showcase the works and influences of Spike Lee, featuring numerous artifacts from the filmmaker's personal collection; the history of the Academy Awards; the role and reflection of social issues in filmmaking; and deep dives into major moments in film history, spotlighting work that includes Bruce Lee, Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki, Oscar Micheaux, and the films Citizen Kane, and Real Women Have Curves.
The museum will also use The Wizard of Oz as a case study to delve into the various disciplines of filmmaking. Using the 1939 classic, the exhibit will take visitors through the ins and outs of casting and performance; the creation of identity through costume, hair, and makeup design; the various components of sound design; story creation; and cinematography.
Other highlights include special installations by director Pedro Almodóvar, composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, and sound designer Ben Burtt, and Inventing Worlds & Characters, a multi-room experience that explores how animators, production designers, costume designers, sound designers, hair and makeup artists, visual effects artists, and more conceptualize, design, and realize new environments and their inhabitants.
For those yearning for their own taste of Oscar night, the museum will also feature the Oscars Experience where guests can enter an immersive environment that simulates the experience of accepting an Oscar on the Dolby Theatre stage.
The museum's inaugural temporary exhibition will center on the work of legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, marking the first North American museum retrospective dedicated to his work.
Collections featuring prized props
The museum's collections will also constantly evolve, as new objects and artifacts of cinema history are acquired on displayed on loan. But some of the most exciting objects already in their care are a pair of the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, the "Bruce the Shark" model from Jaws, a stop motion capture device used in the making of Jurassic Park, and Gregory Peck's annotated script pages from To Kill a Mockingbird.
There will be specific events and tours dedicated to some of the treasures in the museum's collections, including a series called Object Acquisitions that will talk audiences through an artifact's journey from its creation to its new home at the museum.
Screenings and events celebrating Oscar classics
While the museum's exhibition spaces will be bustling, they also have planned a robust schedule of events and screenings. The Academy Museum boasts educational spaces, namely the Shirley Temple Education Studio, as well as two theaters — the 1,000 seat David Geffen Theater and the 288-seat Ted Mann theater — that can project in multiple film and digital formats.
Film series will include Oscar Sundays, showcasing Academy-Award nominated and winning films; Filmmakers' Inspiration; Retrospectives; and screenings specifically inspired by the exhibitions.
The museum will also offers conversations, panels, lectures, and more delving in to the myriad aspects of film history and the art and science of movie-making.
Virtual events happening now
Before in-person events are in full swing this fall, the Academy Museum is kicking things off in a big way with a series of virtual events and screenings.
The inaugural event on April 22, Breaking the Oscars Ceiling, features four women who had historic Oscar wins — Sophia Loren, Whoopi Goldberg, Marlee Matlin, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. The Oscar winners will be joined by by Academy Museum trustee Diane von Furstenberg as host and the museum's chief artistic and programming officer, Jacqueline Stewart, as moderator.
Other virtual events include conversations with Oscar winners, composer Hildur Guðnadóttir and writer-director Spike Lee, and a panel in conversation with Black VFX artists.
The announced virtual screenings include a celebration of Dee Rees' groundbreaking 2011 film Pariah on its 10th anniversary and a 20th anniversary screening of Y tu Mamá También.