By Javier Romualdo
Los Angeles, US, Sep 21 (EFE).- Since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was formed in 1927, one of its objectives, in addition to awarding the Oscars, was to inaugurate a museum dedicated to cinema. Now, more 90 years later, that has come to fruition with a spectacular building designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano.
Although other cities in the world such as Paris, Beijing and Turin have for years had museums dedicated to cinema, Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, lacked one. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will put an end to this incongruity with a center that hopes to become one of the main tourist attractions of the Californian metropolis.
The director of the new institution, Bill Kramer, hailed it as “an instant landmark … a must-see destination for residents and visitors alike” on Tuesday at a preview of the 300,000-square-foot museum that has cost $400 million.
The center will open to the public on Sep. 30 and showcases the highlights of an incomparable collection: 12 million photographs, 80,000 scripts, 50,000 posters and 20,000 designs and sketches, among other items.
There is memorabilia belonging to Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston, recreations of iconic settings, and original items from movies such as “Star Wars,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “La La Land.”
This immense archive, the “largest in the world” according to Academy president David Rubin, is enveloped in an area that occupies two buildings connected by bridges next to another of California’s emblems, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Piano, creator of the Pompidou Centre in Paris (with Richar Rogers) and the Shard in London, received a double commission to erect a new structure on the flat skyline of Los Angeles and revitalize the Saban Building, a former shopping center opened in 1938.
But throughout the almost 10 years that the museum has been worked on, cinema and society have changed.
The Oscars faced criticism of racism under the slogan #Oscarstoowhite and Hollywood has examined its representation of ethnic and racial minorities in a predominantly White industry.
For this reason, the museum dedicates important spaces to tell the stories of the forgotten and to work towards amending mistakes.
The grand lobby is named for Sidney Poitier, the first African American to win the Oscar for Best Actor; there is an exhibit dedicated to “Real Women Have Curves” highlighting the Latino experience in the US, and several panels highlight 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, visitors can experience winning a statuette with The Oscars Experience, in which they can hold an authentic Oscar. EFE