After a long delay due to COVID-19, the Academy Museum finally opened in September with exhibits featuring filmmakers Spike Lee, Hayao Miyazaki and Pedro Almodóvar, however, it also found itself on the receiving end of criticism from donors and Academy members for not acknowledging the contributions of both Jewish studio founders and Black entertainers throughout the course of film history.
According to Variety, in response the Academy Museum announced its first batch of exhibits for the 2022-2023 season, including the permanent installation, “Hollywoodland,” which focuses “on the predominantly Jewish founders of the early Hollywood studio system, delving into how their personal narratives shaped the distinct characteristics of the movies their respective studios produced” and opens in late spring 2023.
Among the new exhibits will be “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971,” which is scheduled to open in August. Celebrating work from Sidney Poitier, Josephine Baker and Lena Horne, “Regeneration” follows “the history of Black filmmaking from the late 19th century to the civil rights movement.”
This sounds like a fascinating journey through the history of Black film. Racism has left a lot of early Black art and culture lost to time, but this exhibit could certainly help make those stories real again. It’s also good to see the Academy recognizing the influence of Black cinema, even if the organization doesn’t always award that excellence in real time.
And just in case you’re like me, and can quote every scene of The Godfather, beginning Nov. 3 the museum will highlight the making of the movie with “original images, props, costumes and scripts.”
Other notable exhibits include:
November 2022: Identity Gallery showcases costumes designed by Bernard Johnson and worn by Richard Pryor in The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings.
November 2022: History Gallery “displays Halle Berry’s Elie Saab gown worn to the 74th Academy Awards in 2002.”
February 2023: Significant Movies and Moviemakers gallery features the John Singleton classic Boyz n the Hood.
As amazing as this celebration of Black film history is, it would be nice if the Academy recognized more Black cinema while it’s still in theaters and needs the boost an Oscar nomination or win would provide.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, the Academy Museum is located at 6067 Wilshire Blvd. and open Sunday-Thursday: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Friday-Saturday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m.