Coming Attractions: The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures


Its “awards season: in Los Angeles, the time of year when the city trundles through traffic jams caused by red carpet events from The Golden Globes to The Independent Spirit Awards to The Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, finally wrapping it up with the Academy Awards on February 24th on ABC. While the city — notably Hollywood — has long been the center of the film world (at least the western film world), it has long lacked a home befitting this status. Now, as the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures nears completion — it’s slated to open in late 2019 — we’re looking forward to stepping inside the Renzo Piano-designed building carved out of the iconic May Company Buidling on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax on the city’s “Museum Row” (The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Craft and Folk Art Museum, The Petersen Automotive Museum, and The La Brea Tar Pits & Museum are within steps; The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust is a few blocks north)

The current construction is focused on the interiors of the Saban and Sphere Buildings: the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater is coming into focus as is the David Geffen Theatre; the glass canopy over the Dolby Family Terrace is nearing completion.

Visitors will find themselves immerse in the history of movies and moviemaking through a series of innovative programs. Unfolding over 30,000 square feet on two floors of the Museum, the experience will combine evocative settings, key objects, and projected multi-screen film presentations for a behind-the-scenes look at this magical world. 

The opening exhibiton will be a retrospective of the work of Hayao Miyazaki. Created in partnership with Studio Ghibli, it marks the animator and director’s first major American exhibition. The show will illuminate Miyakai’s ethereal work, whicih includes Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away,  delving into his 11 films using projections, spatial installations, concept sketches, storyboards, layouts and production cels, many of which will be on display outside of Studio Ghibli’s Japanese offices for the first time. “His films have a universal and timeless appeal,” said Jessica Niebel, the show’s curator, “They transcend cultural boundaries and generational differences; the results are movies that are both beautiful and profound.” 

It will be followed by Regeneration: Black Cinema 1900–1970, a deep dive into the often unrecognized but crucial history of African-American filmmakers and African-American representation through the evolution of American cinema. 

For more information and an updated schedule of opening events, check out the museum’s website here