In the 92 years that The Academy has been projecting, its a little late to the game with a museum, however it is a welcomed and exciting chapter for cinematic history in Hollywood.
Stepping of a twelve hour Virgin flight from London’s Heathrow to Los Angeles last year, the feeling of buzz and the smell of melting tarmac felt strangely nostalgic, like I was meeting an old friend for the first time in years. Of course, Los Angeles is a city where dreams live or die, in this case they were coming true and I was a twenty year old film student with a million ideas.
On my second week in LA, we visited the Dolby Theatre for a $25 tour. The Academy Awards, or better known as The Oscars, moved to the Dolby in 2002, after many years of operation at Shrine Auditorium. The Dolby is an extensively glamorous building on a regular day, so to imagine what the awards would feel like would be to break all senses of Hollywood conventions. What struck me on the tour was the lack of artifacts, minor a few bottles of winners champagne and one very pretty looking Oscar Statue in a glass case. In hindsight, what will the Oscars Museum have in it?
There are over twenty brilliant and profound film museums currently in Los Angeles, including those on back-lots and studios. Does there technically have to be a niche in order for them to do well? Possibly, in a city devoured by film, like awards, competition is high. The Warner Bros studio tour focuses on Friends, because they know it has a cult and dedicated following. Likewise to Jurassic Park at Universal.
The good thing for the Academy is they are established all over the world as a beacon for Hollywood success. Museum attractions such as holding an Oscar (Something Warner Bros let me do!) is a huge pull in for crowds. Historically, The Academy have been acquiring and gifted numerous props and costumes over the years into their collection. This includes Dorthy’s Red Slippers (The Wizard of Oz, 1939), Citizen Kane (1941) Paintings, and Gregory Pecks annotated To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) Script.
There will also be an “immersive Oscars experience” which honestly sounds like my dream. You’ll be able to walk on stage and accept an Oscar within a stage at the Museum. Similarly, “Stories of Cinema” will be stretched over three floors full of props, shots, costumes and scripts for people to insight over. Which will go hand in hand with the next exhibit of “The Matrix Multi Camera Rig”, a dive into CGI and special effects. A Path to Cinema will inhabit another space, with Hayao Miyazaki and Black cinema: 1898 to 1971 in more.
I’m incredibly excited about this space, with each year that passes, The Academy only gets stronger in its antiquity, I’ll be hopping back to LA for this very reason!