Since the Academy of Hollywood began its journey in 1927 one of its objectives, in addition to delivering the Oscars, was inaugurate a museum dedicated to cinema that will open its doors more than 90 years later with a spectacular building designed by the architect Renzo Piano.
Although other cities in the world such as Paris, Beijing and Turin (Italy) have had museums dedicated to cinema for years, Los Angeles, the capital of the seventh art, lacked its own. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will put an end to this incongruity with a center that hopes to become one of the tourist attractions of the Californian metropolis. “We know that it will become an instant symbol of Los Angeles. A must see,” said the director of the new institution, Bill Kramer, at the presentation of a Museum which has cost 400 million dollars.
The center will open to the public on September 30 and showcases the highlights of an incomparable collection: 12 million photographs, 190,000 classic tape items, 80,000 scripts, 50,000 posters and 20,000 designs and sketches. There are memorabilia belonging to Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston, recreations of mythical settings and original gadgets from movies like ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘La La Land’.
What’s more, Pedro Almodovar will open the temporary exhibitions with an installation that reviews his career through the themes that obsess him, such as family, mothers, guilt or religious education.
Almost a century later
The Academy has wrapped this immense archive, the “largest in the world” according to its president, David Rubin, in an area of 28,000 square meters that occupies two buildings connected by bridges next to another of California’s landmarks, the LACMA museum.
Piano, creator of the Center Pompidou in Paris (with Richar Rogers) and the pointy Shard in London, received a double commission: Erect a new structure on the flat Los Angeles skyline and revitalize the Saban Building, a former shopping center opened in 1938 that it remains an example of the ‘streamline’ style that invaded western cities in the last century. “It has been a pleasure to design this building. When I was little I had two important things, the sea and the cinema“said the Italian architect. A huge ball -” bubble “according to Piano-, which shares style with the Centro Botín de Santander (Spain) presides over the museum, whose terrace looks out onto the Hollywood Hills, which are about 5 kilometers from Miracle Mile, the neighborhood where the complex is located.
The road to this inauguration has not been easy. The first ideas for this museum came in the 1930s But they did not materialize until 1960, when a group of businessmen hired the architect William Pereira to design a center at the foot of the Hollywood sign that never materialized. Half a century later, in 2012, the Academy announced the purchase of the Saban Building and began a financing round that has had contributions from well-known names such as Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, Laura Dern, Eva Longoria, Tom Hanks and Bob Iger.
His promise was to open the doors in 2017, but the constant delays in the works postponed the date until 2020. Then came the pandemic and delayed a whole year. “I am not a filmmaker or an architect, but a few years ago I agreed to lead this funding campaign because this museum is important to Los Angeles. Other cities have film museums, but this has to be the Parthenon of those places,” he said Tom Hanks, representing the stars who have contributed to the project.
Hollywood makes amends for its mistakes
Throughout the almost ten years that the museum has been created, cinema and society have changed. The Oscars had to face criticism of racism under the slogan #Oscarsowhite (Oscars Too White) and Hollywood has examined the representation it makes of Latinos, Blacks and Asians in a predominantly Anglo-Saxon industry. For this reason, the museum dedicates an important space to tell the history of the forgotten and to make amends for their mistakes.
Sidney Poitier, the first black man to win the Oscar for best actor, names the main lobby; a section dedicated to ‘Real Women Have Curves’ highlights the Latino experience in the US and several panels review women who broke barriers such as Sophia Loren and Rita Moreno, the first Hispanic winner of the Oscar for best actress.
As a final touch, whoever wants it you can live the experience of winning the precious statuette with ‘The Oscars Experience’, in which visitors will be able to hold a Oscar authentic.