A Fête to Filmmaking at the Academy Museum’s Opening Night Gala

Amid lights, cameras and actors, the long-awaited Los Angeles museum celebrating the arts, sciences and artists of moviemaking opened its doors to its own



Beneath the soaring sphere of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, Lady Gaga swanned, Cher linked arms with longtime collaborator Bob Mackie, Spike Lee and Sophia Loren gathered their respective families, and Tom Hanks, Annette Bening and Bob Iger celebrated the completion of their campaign for the decades-in-the-making institution. Many of Hollywood’s brightest turned out to see the Renzo Piano-designed complex, which houses two theaters (one almost 34,000 square feet) along with exhibitions and historic artifacts assembled inside the adjoining seven-story Streamline Moderne building that was formerly the May Company department store. The evening honoring Loren and Ethiopian independent filmmaker Haile Gerima gave guests — many of them members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — a first look at the new museum, which opened to the public on Thursday, September 30.


Two glass-and-steel pedestrian bridges — named for BARBRA STREISAND and CASEY WASSERMAN — connect the historic 1939 Saban Building with the grand addition.


On hand to see lushly hued clips of Pedro Almodóvar films, wardrobe-test Polaroids and photos of James Dean and Elvis and Brad Pitt, an Olympia typewriter used for the screenplay of Psycho, the sole surviving Rosebud sled from Citizen Kane, those famous ruby slippers and Mackie’s “Mohawk” Oscar dress for Cher were the evening’s co-chairs — Ava DuVernay, Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum — plus Laura Dern, Ruth Negga, Olivia Rodrigo, Nicole Kidman, Olivier de Givenchy, Ted Sarandos, Jeremy Scott, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Riley Keough, Issa Rae, John Waters and Chloé Zhao. Joining them were museum director and president Bill Kramer and chief artistic and programming officer Jacqueline Stewart, who just became a MacArthur Fellow. The two introduced guests to the space’s survey of filmmaking, “Stories of Cinema,” which includes golden Oscar statues given out annually by the Academy’s awards branch but also addresses film preservation, innovation and cinema’s fraught history. The Rolex-sponsored evening raised more than $11 million to support the museum’s access, education and programming initiatives.


Academy Museum of Motion Pictures director and president BILL KRAMER stands inside the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater.


As they toured the galleries, some took a seat on the simulated grass slopes under Sky View, an immersive projection installation of drifting clouds that’s part of the enchanting Hayao Miyazaki retrospective — and vowed never to leave. The evening, inspired by the Japanese artist and filmmaker’s Academy Award-winning Spirited Away, included a green carpet and forest-evoking tree tunnel leading guests to a Wolfgang Puck-crafted dinner set under the glowing glass dome. But Gaga’s hour-long set of jazz standards drew everyone to their feet.


Feature image: The sphere, which houses the 1,000-seat David Gefffen Theater, has a terrace with sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills.


October 8, 2021

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