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Academy Museum
Photograph: ©Academy Museum FoundationAerial shot of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

‘The Godfather,’ ‘Boyz n the Hood’ and Agnès Varda lead the Academy Museum’s next year of exhibitions

Plus exhibitions on pre-1970s Black cinema and Hollywood studios’ Jewish founders.

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano

As the Academy Museum’s Hayao Miyazaki retrospective nears the end of its run, the Miracle Mile movie museum is looking ahead at what’s next—and shaking up the selections in a significant portion of its galleries.

Starting this summer and running into next spring, the Academy Museum will dedicate a series of exhibition and gallery spaces to pre-1970s Black cinema, The Godfather, Boyz n the Hood, Casablanca, filmmaker Agnès Varda and more. It’ll also be opening a permanent exhibition about the history of L.A.’s studio system, notably including the role of its predominantly Jewish founders—a seeming oversight in the museum’s inaugural collection displays for which it received some criticism.

Boyz n the Hood
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Edward Mapp Collection, Courtesy Margaret Herrick LibraryBoyz n the Hood (1991)

In addition, the museum will swap out some of the selections in its “Stories of Cinema” galleries with costumes, scripts, stills and props from films that include AkiraThe BirdsThe Favourite and more. As for the rest of the museum, the Academy says it plans to “refresh” its sometimes cavernous-feeling public spaces with “cinematic elements and moments of digital engagement and connectivity” from the building’s interior designer, Kulapat Yantrasast and WHY Architecture.

“Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898–1971” was announced before the Academy Museum even opened (and has been among our most-anticipated exhibitions), but we finally have just a few more details about what we can expect when it opens this summer. The research-driven collaboration with Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will feature items tied to the likes of Lena Horne, Sidney Poitier, Paul Robeson, William Greaves, Josephine Baker, the Nicholas Brothers, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis and more.

The permanent “Hollywoodland” will debut in the spring of 2023 with an examination of the history of filmmaking in L.A., starting in the early 20th century. In a clear response to criticism that Jewish studio founders were absent from the museum’s displays upon opening, “Hollywoodland” will frame the rise of the American film industry as an immigrant story with a focus on its earliest producers.

Carl Laemmle
Courtesy Margaret Herrick LibraryHollywoodland, Carl Laemmle.
Agnes Varda
Courtesy: Max L. Raab Productions/PhotofestAgnes Varda on the set of Lon Bonheur. Copyright 1964 cine-tamaris, photo by Marilou Parolini.

Elsewhere throughout the museum, expect to see some pretty significant updates to the core collection. In the “Art of Moviemaking” gallery, the focus on The Wizard of Oz will give way to The Godfather on November 3, with costumes, props, scripts and equipment from the iconic Francis Ford Coppola film, including Don Corleone’s desk and chair. At the same time, the “Director’s Inspiration” gallery will move on from Spike Lee to Agnès Varda, with a focus on the Belgian-born French director’s photography experience and passion for fine art.

In February 2023, the “Significant Movies and Moviemakers” galleries will see a complete overhaul. The second-floor galleries will focus on Casablanca, with original production objects and the stories of European émigrés who worked on the film; Boyz n the Hood, specifically its depiction of Black life in South L.A. and its impact on pop culture; collaborations between production designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer, who’ve specialized in period pieces like Anna Karenina and Darkest Hour; and documentarian Lourdes Portillo’s projects on identity and social justice in Latin America and the U.S. Currently, that area of the museum houses galleries on Citizen KaneReal Women Have Curves, Emmanuel Lubezki, Thelma Schoonmaker and Oscar Micheaux.

Elsewhere in the museum, expect to see new additions in just about every space, including cels from Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira this spring; Olivia Coleman’s Queen Anne costume from The Favourite, scripts and storyboards from The Birds and Gregory Peck’s To Kill a Mockingbird Oscar in November; and Carmen Miranda’s costume as Rosita Rivas from Weekend in Havana next spring, among many, many more.

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