Oscar ballots are due today at 5 p.m. PT. If you are a straggler, or just still catching up on the movies, the deadline for nomination voting is upon us, so beware. The nominations for the 93rd annual Academy Awards will be announced Monday morning, and the Oscars will be presented April 25.
But before we get to this year’s Oscars, officials at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures were busy talking about the past — not only Oscar history, but the whole history of movies — as plans were revealed Wednesday for initial programming for the long-awaited and long-delayed museum, which is now opening to the public September 30 after a gala opening September 25. Among the programs announced today are a series of virtual events and exhibits in the lead-up to the physical debut.
In fact, the press got a dazzling virtual tour of the entire facility this morning including detailed looks at every gallery and many of the artifacts, costumes, props, iconic moments and other things that will make up the contents of the former May Co building that sits at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles.
I have been on more than one tour of the museum as it has been in the construction phase, as well as one where it was just about completed before the pandemic lockdown changed everything. Now, virtually at least, officials led by Academy Museum director and president Bill Kramer and chief artistic and programming officer Jacqueline Stewart, with participation by a host of notables, showed off the Academy’s shiny new object in all its glory. Based on the impressive presentation it certainly meets the moment.
Afterwards, on a separate Zoom event, Kramer and Stewart answered a few questions about the progress so far. Pandemic permitting, they absolutely expect to meet the September opening dates with no more delays, but are aware real-life events can always intervene. Still, it seems like it is very much on track this time around.
In answer to a question about how the museum plans to deal with controversies over past artistic content in movies including racism and sexism, Kramer said all of that is incorporated in detail in various sections. Examples will include the casting of The Good Earth, Sacheen Littlefeather’s appearance at the 1973 Oscars to turn down Marlon Brando’s Best Actor Oscar due to treatment of Native Americans in movies, and offensive portrayals in cartoons (think Pepe Le Pew) among many other questionable movie moments that will be highlighted with the intention of having a museum that not only shines a good light on what the history of movies represents, but also not shying away from the negative. That was also emphasized by virtual host Laura Dern as she took us through each of the many galleries and what we will be seeing in person come September.
As for the virtual programming, it is expected to start around the Oscars in late April.
“We have been hard at work preparing the Academy Museum and are ready to welcome visitors first virtually and then in person in September,” Stewart said. The programs we are rolling out for our opening are dynamic, diverse and deeply grounded in the history and artistry of filmmaking. Whether they are recognizing Hollywood legends, delving into the working process of film professionals, or addressing issues of race, gender, sexuality and inequity that run through film history, these programs will use the power of movies and stories of filmmakers to open eyes and minds.”
Kramer said: “Developed in partnership with incredible Academy members, our slate of virtual programs is designed to complement our compelling and engaging core and temporary exhibitions. When we open, our programs will also come to life in our theaters and in our public spaces to deepen the visitor experience. Our screenings, panels, symposia, and educational programs are key components of how our visitors will interact with the museum and learn about filmmaking.”
Below is the detailed information from the Academy on how the museum plans to roll out their virtual and opening programming:
Around the time of the 93rd Academy Awards®, to be presented on April 25, 2021, the Academy Museum will launch a series of virtual conversations, screenings, and education programs on the Academy Museum website . Conceived as digital prologues to the Academy Museum’s core exhibition, Stories of Cinema, these programs will share the varied voices of extraordinary film artists, tell the stories of their inspirations and collaborations, and explore the art, technology, history, and social impact of the movies.
Pre-opening programming will kick off on April 22, 2021 with Breaking the Oscars® Ceiling, a conversation hosted by Academy Museum trustee Diane von Furstenberg and moderated by the Academy Museum’s Jacqueline Stewart, who will be speaking with women who achieved historic Oscars milestones. Guests include actor Sophia Loren, actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg, actor Marlee Matlin, and singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.
Also launching on April 22, the museum’s website will be activated with thoughtful historic content on the Oscars and Hollywood: the Academy Awards History Timeline, an interactive timeline that previews and expands on the Academy Museum’s gallery of Academy Awards History and Hollywood Past and Present, a virtual tour of Oscars-related locations with vintage and contemporary photographs of key locations.
Additional pre-opening virtual programs will include (times and dates TBA):
Film Screenings and Conversations with the Artists
*Screenings are available in the United States at this time; the subsequent conversations are available worldwide.
- Pariah (2011), the cast and crew of this groundbreaking fiction debut of writer/director Dee Rees reunite to discuss the conception, production, and impact of this coming-of-age story.
- Y tu mamá también (2001), a celebration of the creative partnership between three-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki and four-time Oscar-winning writer-director Alfonso Cuaron (this event will be in Spanish with English subtitles).
In Conversation Series
- Spike Lee, a virtual conversation with the trailblazing writer-director, exploring how Lee’s vast personal collection represents his many cinematic muses in the museum’s Director’s Inspiration gallery.
- Hildur Guðnadóttir, a virtual conversation between the Oscar-winning musician and composer (Joker, 2019) and Academy Museum Exhibitions Curator Jenny He, discussing Guðnadóttir’s work and her approach to designing the museum’s Composer’s Inspiration gallery.
- Activism and Film, an in-depth conversation on the intersections between filmmaking and social change featuring drop-in guests and previewing the Academy Museum’s Impact/Reflection gallery.
Workshops and Education Programs
- How to Use Film as a Teaching Tool to Have Difficult Conversations, a series of workshops for educators and caregivers.
- The Work of Black VFX Artists , celebrating the accomplishments of six visual effects professionals in a candid discussion about perseverance and the shared experiences of Black film artists in the industry. Offering unprecedented access into their creative process via break-out sessions with visual effects professionals Lyndon Barrois, Lauren Ellis, Audrea Topps-Harjo, Greg Anderson, Andrew Roberts, and Corey Turner.
- Hayao Miyazaki Family Day, introducing families to the world of Hayao Miyazaki’s films through a day of events including art-making workshops and live performances. Academy Museum family day programs are made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.
When the Academy Museum opens September 30, 2021, it will begin presenting a robust range of screenings, in-depth conversations, and programs for youth and families.
Visitors will be welcomed with a slate of film screenings that celebrate cinema’s rich past, present and future. Presented in the Academy Museum’s two theaters—1,000-seat David Geffen Theater and 288-seat Ted Mann Theater—viewers will enjoy films as intended with state-of-the-art sound and projection in multiple film and digital formats. The theaters will be spaces to explore and experience the art of cinema as well as inspire conversation and action long after the credits roll.
The museum will present film series that celebrate a global spectrum of cinematic perspectives and practices across histories to expand beyond conventional narratives and build on the ever-expanding film canon, including:
- Branch Selects, selected by each of the Academy’s 17 branches that represent meaningful breakthroughs in the evolution of their craft.
- Exhibition-inspired series expanding on the themes, films, and filmmakers in the museum’s galleries. For the museum’s inaugural temporary exhibition, Hayao Miyazaki, the museum will present all of Miyazaki’s features in both Japanese with English subtitles and with English dubbing, as well as additional series exploring the worlds, ideas and stories created by this master filmmaker.
- Oscar Sundays, screenings of Oscar-nominated and -winning films, as well as a behind the scenes look inside the Academy and the Academy Awards.
- Filmmakers’ Inspiration, expanding upon the gallery spaces curated by film artists Pedro Almodóvar, Hildur Guðnadóttir, and Spike Lee with films they select highlighting their own works and films that have influenced them.
- Preservation Spotlights, showcasing recently preserved films from archives around the world
- Retrospectives offering expansive surveys of a filmmaker’s body of work. Our inaugural year will include retrospectives on a range of film artists from Indian writer/director Satyajit Ray, Ethiopian-born writer/director/teacher Haile Gerima, Austrian exiles who helped shape much of the Golden Age of Hollywood, and actress and icon Anna May Wong.
- Shorts in the Geffen, daily screenings celebrating the creativity of short-form filmmaking—live-action, documentary, and animated—in the David Geffen Theater during regular museum hours.
Additionally, the museum will present conversations, panels, symposia, and lectures several times a month in our theaters celebrating film artists and film history while also providing learning opportunities to lean into areas of harm, hurt and complexity:
- Legacy, inviting family members of Hollywood legends to discuss the legacy of film artists and provide first-hand insights into film history.
- Impact/Reflection, featuring film artists in conversation with scholars and activists about the relationship between documentary and narrative film and topics presented in the museum’s Impact/Reflection galleries in Stories of Cinema, such as #MeToo, pay equity, Black Lives Matter, climate change, and labor relations.
- The Arts and Sciences of Cinema, providing information and context about breakthrough scientific and technical achievements in filmmaking, featuring figures who have made major contributions to their fields.
- In Conversation Series , with profiles of film artists, celebrations of the anniversaries of significant films, discussions in which film artists speak with people who have been their inspirations and influences, and more. • Contextualizing Cinema, where Academy members and scholars unpack challenging topics in film history—such as racialized makeup, degrading depictions of Indigenous peoples, and racism in animation—with the aim of increasing empathy and knowledge.
- Object Acquisitions, inviting audiences to follow the journey into the Academy Museum of iconic objects such as the “Bruce the Shark” model from Jaws (1975) and the ruby red slippers from The Wizard of Oz (1939).
- Hayao Miyazaki, linked to the Academy Museum’s first temporary exhibition, Hayao Miyazaki, unpacking themes in his films including environmentalism, female empowerment, post-war society, and Japanese spirituality and culture.
Education and family programs will be ongoing at the Academy Museum, provided both in the exhibition galleries and in the Shirley Temple Education Studio:
- Teen programs, made for teens, by teens, the Academy Museum will engage with local teenagers to create workshops and events.
- Family studio activities will follow family matinee screenings on weekends and will be facilitated by Teaching Artists, with Academy members dropping in as guest teachers. Participants will gain hands-on experience with filmmaking processes and technologies while enjoying informal, play-based learning.
- Free Monthly Quiet Mornings, held on weekends before regular public hours, will give young people with sensory processing disorders and their families or caregivers an opportunity to experience the museum with no crowds, lower sound levels, and moderated lighting contrasts. Participants will join a facilitated accommodative tour, followed by a workshop in the Education Studio.
- Seasonal family/community days will provide programs on all floors throughout the day, including tours, Education Studio activities, demonstrations, and performances.
- School tours will be offered twice a week, at no cost and with the expense of bus travel reimbursed. Advance registration is required and will become available in the summer. Tours and accompanying programs in the Education Studio at appropriate grade levels are being developed with the assistance of roundtables with teachers from the Los Angeles Unified School District. Programs will be designed to connect to national curriculum and the needs of California teachers and students.
In addition, visitors will be able to join themed, interactive 45-minute guided tours throughout the week, offering insights on the core collection, exhibitions, art installations, and the Academy Museum’s architectural design. Family tours and accommodative tours (including offerings for the low vision, blind, hard of hearing, and deaf communities) will be scheduled on a regular basis. On weekends, multiple 15-minute Gallery Highlights will encourage a deeper understanding of focal points in the museum’s content while engaging visitors in conversation. Guided tours and Gallery Highlights will be free with museum admission, and free audio tours will also be available in English, Spanish, and Korean.