With the 85th Oscars in the history books The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has gotten back to doing what it does the other 364 days of the year. The organization held its annual lunch Monday honoring the $25,000 grant recipients chosen as the 2012 Academy Film Scholars. The 12-year-old program started in 2000 offers the grants to scholars who “stimulate and support the creation of new and significant works of film scholarship about aesthetic, cultural, educational, historical, theoretical or scientific aspects of theatrical motion pictures”. The Academy Grants Committee chaired by PR branch member and marketing exec Buffy Shutt with Set Decorator Rosemary Brandenburg as Vice Chair awarded grants to Dr. Christopher Beach who will write “The  Image On The Screen: Directors, Cinematographers, And The Collaborative Process”  and Dr. Thomas Schatz who will create “Hollywood In The Conglomerate Age” which will look at the effect of corporate mergers in the period  since the 1989 creation of Time Warner and Sony-Columbia. This pair joins 13 other scholars currently working on projects commissioned by the Academy. Shutt said of the 95 proposals assessed by the staff, 12 were forwarded to the committee and these two were chosen.

The program has already produced an impressive array of books which were on display at Preston’s restaurant at Lowe’s Hollywood where the intimate luncheon was held. Among the titles are “Joseph P. Kennedy Presents His Hollywood Years”, “Twentieth Century Fox The Zanuck -Skouras Years 1935-1965”,  “Hollywood Left And Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics”, and RKO Pictures: A Titan Is Born” and several others.

Academy COO Ric Robertson presided over the lunch and helped Shutt present the checks.  With several Academy members present there was much talk about this year’s controversial Oscar show (most seemed to like it better than some critics) as well as other topics including the impending Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Heather Cochran, the Managing Director of the ambitious project that is a co-venture with Los Angeles County Museum Of Art told me they are hitting their financial targets and have virtually completed the design elements for the museum. The architects are due back in town next month and will continue initial work for the building which is planned for a 4th Quarter 2016 opening at this point.

The Academy’s Randy Haberkamp, who participates in the Scholars project also told me they  have firmed their continuing collaboration with the TCM Classic Movie Film Festival opening April 25 in Hollywood and will be presenting a program focusing on aspects of the Tarzan film series including the development of the famous “Tarzan yell”,  a special event devoted to Hollywood Home Movies and a screening of a restored print of the 1949 musical On The Town.