The Academy Museum opened to the public on September 30, 2021, in Los Angeles and became an immediate success. It’s across the street from the impressive Petersen Auto Museum. Ruth & I wanted to see it when we had the opportunity and that presented itself last week. Because of COVID, movie going has waned, so this new museum gives this industry an exciting new venue to promote itself. It works especially well to renew interest in movie-going.
The first exhibit that people see is Back Drop: An Invisible Art about how movie making began. Level 4 up an escalator at this exciting new venue, offers lots of exhibits about how the magic of making movies and attending them is created. Ruth had the opportunity to win an Academy Award and took advantage of the chance to see how this feels.
Rather rapidly, the visitor is learning a lot about how animation is done. Shrek, Toy Story, and Frozen are used to create excitement about animation. This was followed by a large but temporary display about the films of Spanish film master Pedro Almodovar. We learned about some of his early films that we knew nothing about and have had a chance to view a couple of them like Volver, which stars one of his favorite actresses Penelope Cruz. Exhibits like this tend to be kept for about a year and usually change in September.
The focus on superheroes was next with Stars Wars stars featured and a pleasant focus on The Terminator. A whole room, it seems, is devoted to the film magic created by Citizen Kane, which is often said to be the best movie ever made. We have had the chance since returning home to see it and 2 more dynamite movies that we missed; both Real Women Have Curves starring America Ferrera and the Academy Award winning and controversial A Fantastic Woman from Chile have unspooled on our TV. We otherwise would not have seen both of these more recent films. Both films are exceptional and relevant movies.
There are many Oscars on view that have been donated to this new museum for display purposes. Only Hattie McDaniel’s award is dark because this first Academy Award winning Black actress donated it to Howard University, which misplaced it. Halle Berry’s fine tribute to her is in the next room. All of the Oscars seen are originals as are the outfits worn on Academy Award night by Cher and others.
Towards the end of this experience there is a huge focus on The Wizard of Oz including a pair of the Red Slippers on display that was actually used in the film that was not so successful at first. In the next room are some costumes used in movies. The most impressive is the one designed for Midsommar and Carmen Miranda’s still interesting dress worn in a 1940s film.
The Academy Award focus ends for now on several documentaries, and some much appreciated early movie posters were on view.