By: Josh Taylor
It’s been a little over a month since the opening of the ACADEMY MUSEUM OF MOTION PICTURES. I went to visit this beautiful multi-level museum on its opening weekend, and as I’ve had time to reflect on it, I wanted to share why any film lover would want to visit the museum and its promise for the future. Going opening weekend, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I’d seen Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio talk about their work in helping the museum come to life, but I didn’t really know what I’d see within, beyond the Hayao Miyazaki exhibit that is having a limited run (It closes June 5, 2022) so the surprise of it all was exciting. Sitting right next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, this five-story minimalist building doesn’t feel like anything special upon entry, but as you climb to each level, and enter the exhibits, you find yourself in endless mazes of costumes, props, scripts, and screens. It’s truly a delight to turn a corner, and find something you thought you’d never see. An exhibit titled “The Path to Cinema” takes you back to the earliest days of cameras, penny arcades, and silhouette puppet shows, but you’ll also see things from some of the latest in motion pictures as well, including the flower dress Florence Pugh wore in Midsommar.
For Creepy Kingdom fans, there is plenty to see that fits right into our brand. From a hall that features stop-motion models and animation sketches to the costumes and props of contemporary horror, you could spend all day taking in the beauty and art of filmmaking. As someone who studied audio engineering, I got a kick out of seeing a breakdown of how audio was added to Raiders of the Lost Ark, as a film showed how on set sound was replaced with foley work and orchestration. What I love about the museum is that it doesn’t just celebrate the most popular films or those that have won plenty of Oscars, but it strives to give a voice to international and minority filmmakers. Outside of the aforementioned Hayao Miyazaki exhibit, there is a major display for Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, someone I’m not particularly familiar with, but am now interested in, since seeing his work at the museum. Spike Lee also has a major presence, and one of the greatest rooms in the entire museum currently. It features props from his films as well as his personal collection of items he’s attained over the years, including movie posters, suits, and a guitar from Prince. A new exhibit being added in 2022, called “Regeneration” will also look at Black filmmakers and performers from the early days of film, and into the 1970s. There are bits and pieces of their stories already within the museum, but to see a major exhibit hall added will be an excellent touch for a museum that is already representing and welcoming to everyone.
Whether you are a Los Angeles local or you are visiting the city, the ACADEMY MUSEUM OF MOTION PICTURES has to become one of your stopping points. I can’t see how it couldn’t become one of the most talked-about and visited museums in the United States. As it grows with new exhibits and features, it will only get better.
Tickets ($25) and memberships to the museum can be found on their website. Children 17 and under can currently visit the museum for free.