Some call it the Death Star, others playfully refer to it as a soap bubble. For award-winning actor Tom Hanks it’s a magic lantern, and for some Angelenos it conjures up nostalgic memories of ogling the lavish display windows of the May Company department store during the holiday season. It’s the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which opens to the public today and it is truly something different for everyone.
The Academy’s dream-in-the-making since 1929, the seven-story, 300,000-square-foot museum is designed by award-winning architect Renzo Piano and draws on the resources of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It’s located in the heart of L.A.’s Miracle Mile, and opens with a 30,000-square-foot core exhibition Stories of Cinema, offering celebratory, critical, and personal perspectives on the disciplines and impact of moviemaking, past and present.
The temporary Hayao Miyazaki exhibition is the first museum retrospective in North America of the work of the acclaimed filmmaker and Studio Ghibli.
The Path to Cinema: Highlights from the Richard Balzer Collection features selections from the world’s foremost holdings of pre-cinematic optical toys and devices including those magic lanterns, and Backdrop: An Invisible Art is a double-height installation that presents the painting of Mount Rushmore used in Alfred Hitchock’s 1959 masterpiece, North by Northwest.
The Oscars® Experience is a fun interactive simulation that lets visitors imagine what it’s like to step onto the stage of the Dolby Theatre to accept their own Academy Award.®
The Academy Awards History galleries begin in a circular gallery set with Oscar trophies from 20 historic Oscar wins, and then move into a larger gallery containing a chronological walk-through of Academy Awards history from 1929 to the present, featuring all the award-winning categories including costume, special effects and animation. For the inaugural exhibition, the Director’s Inspiration gallery features Spike Lee and draws from the Academy Award-winning director’s personal collection of objects, including a guitar owned by Prince, with whom he collaborated.
From Dorothy’s ruby slippers in The Wizard of Oz to The Big Lebowski’s robe and the Rosebud sled from Citizen Kane, there are four floors of endless movie memorabilia and history. Star Wars characters are on display as well as the spacesuit from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the academy award-winning costume from Black Panther and Harold Lloyd’s original makeup kit from the 1920s.
The museum’s roster of screenings – including Oscar® Sundays and Family Matinees – will be presented in its new 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater and the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater beginning on September 30 with a special presentation of The Wizard of Oz with live musical accompaniment by the American Youth Symphony conducted by Oscar nominee David Newman. Ongoing education and family programs will take place throughout the museum in exhibition galleries, theaters, and the Shirley Temple Education Studio. These will include teen programs, family studio activities and school tours.
On the ground floor, in the Sidney L. Poitier lobby of the redesigned May Company department store building, is Fanny’s, the restaurant and café developed by restaurateurs Bill Chait and Carl Schuster. It will open to visitors with breakfast and lunch service, with dinner service added later in the Fall. Named after Fanny Brice – the legendary star portrayed by Barbra Streisand in her Oscar-winning role as Funny Girl – the two-story, 10,000 square foot space features a chef-designed open kitchen, bar, and captain-based service style with Raphael Francois as executive chef and Julian Cox as the bar’s mixologist. Wolfgang Puck Catering will oversee catering services at the museum, which is crowned by an expansive outdoor rooftop space that has views from the ocean to downtown and the Hollywood Hills.
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