ACADEMY MUSEUM OF MOTION PICTURES
GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH MOVIES
In L.A., everyone always cares about box-office numbers. We just have to know if something is a hit or not?
Years in the making, and with a budget of $482 million, all eyes were on the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures when it opened. It definitely was a heavyweight project, but would it be a blockbuster or a dud?
The largest museum in the United States devoted to the arts, sciences, and artists of moviemaking, the museum is grand in scope and will satisfy movie-lovers who want to bask in the glow of the silver screen. The museum celebrates film history but does so in a contemporary way not stuck in the past. It offers exceptional exhibitions and programs in an immersive and dynamic way that puts a shining movie premiere spotlight on the world of cinema.
The Academy Museum offers seven floors of feature exhibition spaces, as well as education and special event spaces, a conservation studio, a café, and a museum store. In addition, the museum’s 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater and 288-seat Ted Mann Theater will present a year-round calendar of screenings, film series, member programs, panel discussions, family programs, and symposia. Programs will include retrospectives and thematic series that illuminate the artistic and cultural contributions of an international selection of movie artists.
The Academy’s mission statement for the Museum of Motion Pictures is to advance the understanding, celebration, and preservation of cinema through inclusive and accessible exhibitions, screenings, programs, initiatives, and collections.
Housed in the former May Company building on Wilshire Boulevard in Miracle Mile, the space, now the Saban Building, is visually stunning—inside and out. It’s a ravishing leading lady Hollywood would be proud to call its own.
The Stories of Cinema exhibit is aptly told in a three-floor exhibit space presenting the diverse, international, and complex stories of moviemakers and the works they create.
Stories of Cinema begins in the Spielberg Family Gallery, which is free and open to the public, located in the museum’s Sidney Poitier Grand Lobby, with an immersive, multichannel media installation that travels from the very beginnings of film to the groundbreaking movies of today. The revelatory moments from over 700 films in this 13-minute multichannel presentation are preludes to the cinematic stories continued in the rest of the museum.
Level 2 of Stories of Cinema presents significant movies and moviemakers and highlights all the crafts that go into making a movie, including screenwriting, costume design, hair and makeup, performance, cinematography, editing, and more. It includes a history of the Academy Awards, a gallery featuring a collaboration with a director, such as Spike Lee, and a gallery considering the impact of movies on society, as well as a gallery dedicated to the making of The Wizard of Oz.
Level 3 features collaborations with a film artist, a composer, and a sound designer, as well as Inventing Worlds and Characters, which takes visitors on a journey that includes animation, visual effects, and encounters with famous characters from fantasy and science fiction. The Stories of Cinema exhibition concludes with reflections on the future of cinema.
My favorite exhibit was the dazzling display for Pixar’s Toy Story. I could watch this dynamic 3D Zoetrope production all day long. Tables turns and strobe lights flash and characters come to life as Woody and his horse buck past in one direction; Buzz rolls by on a Pixar ball in the other; Jesse the cowgirl, from Toy Story 2, dances inside a lasso; army men parachute from the sky as three-eyed aliens wave and play. The cumulative effect is magical. It’s just so much damn fan. It’s a fully feel-good display.
If you’re going to make a day of it, you might as well dine and drink at Fanny’s café and bar. Enjoy the Some Like It Hot Old Fashioned made with buttered popcorn bourbon, or the World’s Best Martini (that’s actually what it’s called) for a whopping $21. The restaurant setting is swanky and the prices are hefty but if you’re making a day of, well, just deep dive into indulgence. The restaurant is closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and is open the rest of the week from 5:30pm to 10pm. The café and bar are open daily from 10am to close.
And definitely make sure to head up to the rooftop overlook to take in some stunning city views. Consider it a must at sunset.
The additional Oscars Experience—for an extra $15 on top of your paid admission—isn’t really worth it. It’s your chance to stand center stage after you just won an Academy Award. Hold the statue and take in the applause. There no time for a speech but you do get to ham it up as you’re recorded and the winning video moment is emailed to you. If you’re going full boar, go for it. If you’re on a budget, then skip it.
General admission to the museum is $25. Seniors pay $19; college students pay $15 and children, ages 17 and younger, are free (thanks to an endowment in honor of Sid Ganis). Unfortunately, there is not matinee price to take advantage of but the museum is a definitely worth a one-time visit no doubt. Repeat visits depend on available funds and what else you have going on. Consider it a hit for rapid movie-lovers.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is located at 6067 Wilshire Blvd. Open daily from 10am to 6pm (8pm on Friday and Saturday). Call 323-930-3000.
Story By: Jose Martinez
Photography Courtesy Of: Academy Museum of Motion Pictures