It’s only twice a year that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences matters for moviegoers: the morning when Oscar nominations are announced and the evening when winners are.
The Academy is more than just the Oscars, though. It offers a literacy media program for Los Angeles public schools, teaching guides on film for students, and grants for aspiring filmmakers, as well as film presentation and film scholarship. Some of those scholars will likely use the research collection at the Academy’s much-cherished Margaret Herrick Library.
Next spring, the Academy’s non-Oscar profile gets a major boost: The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is scheduled to open in Los Angeles on April 30, five days after the Oscars ceremony. COVID-19 has pushed back the opening from this December.
“I really think we’re inventing something that’s new,” said Academy Museum director Bill Kramer in a recent telephone interview. “I’ve not seen something on this scale that is going to explore the history of cinema and the future of cinema, and in a very diverse and inclusive way.”
Designed by Renzo Piano, the museum joins a renovation of the former May Company Building, a Streamline Moderne classic on Wilshire Boulevard, to a new glass-and-metal spherical structure. The museum has taken in 97 percent of the $388 million set as its pre-opening fundraising goal. After the opening, the museum plans a subsequent campaign, to fund endowment and programming, as well as operating and capital expenses.
That programming will feature a “robust” schedule of panels, symposia, screenings, and other daily programs, Kramer said. But the biggest draw for museumgoers will be exhibitions drawn from the Academy’s holdings, which Kramer called “the largest film-related collection in the world.”
Kramer, whose resume includes a stint as vice president of institutional engagement at the Rhode Island School of Design, doesn’t have a favorite among the 5,000 items in the collection. But he did mention the head designed by H.R. Giger for “Alien” and a pair of the ruby slippers Judy Garland wore in “The Wizard of Oz.”
They’re included in this selection of highlights from the collection.
Mark Feeney can be reached at email@example.com.