The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opened its doors for a preview on Tuesday ahead of its Sept. 30 public opening, allowing media to take a tour of all of its exhibitions for the first time.
Located on the LACMA campus on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, the museum occupies the moderne-style former May Co. department store along with an impressive giant glass dome designed by architect Renzo Piano.
More from Variety
To kick off the event, a press conference was held in the dome’s beautiful David Geffen Theater with talent on hand for opening remarks.
Tom Hanks (Academy Museum trustee), Anna Kendrick (actor and producer), Bill Kramer (director and president, Academy Museum of Motion Pictures), David Rubin (president, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), Dawn Hudson (CEO, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), Miky Lee (vice chair, Academy Board of Trustees), Piano (architect, Renzo Piano Building Workshop) and Jacqueline Stewart (chief artistic and programming officer) were among the attendees.
A montage video played before Kendrick (Oscar-nominated for “Up in the Air”) took the stage, showcasing stunning exhibits that include Dorothy’s ruby slippers, the “Citizen Kane” Rosebud sled, R2-D2 and Bruce the shark from “Jaws.”
Kramer called the 300,000-square-foot complex “an instant landmark … a must-see destination for residents and visitors alike” in the world capital of filmmaking.
Kramer later spoke about the museum and Academy’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. “When there’s controversy, we need to explore it, and we do,” he said.
Hudson and Rubin discussed the organization’s founders and their vision for the industry. “One of the first agenda items when the Academy was founded 92 years ago was to establish a museum,” Rubin said.
Hudson also paid gratitude to Piano: “We were enthralled by his eloquence and his vision. … I am so proud of all that we achieved.”
In a pre-recorded video, Bob Iger talked about why he has long supported the museum.
“I thought it would be great for our industry, but also for our community,” Iger said. “The thing I am most excited to see is a movie premiere — hopefully a Disney movie premiere — in this great David Geffen Theater.”
Piano jokingly, but convincingly, told everyone, when referring to the massive dome, “Don’t call it the Death Star. Call it the zeppelin.” “Light and shadow is the essence of this building,” he said,mdrawing a comparison to the art of moviemaking.
Stewart then took the stage to speak about the exhibits from Oscar-winning filmmakers and artisans such as Pedro Almodóvar (“Talk to Her”), Hildur Guðnadóttir (“Joker”) and Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”).
Two-time Academy Award winner Hanks quoted Han Solo, saying “I have a good feeling about this,” regarding the opening.
“We need to celebrate everything this town and the art form has brought to the world. The end result exceeds our dreams by about tenfold,” he said. “That’s what this building looks like to me, the world’s largest magic lantern that will transport us to another world.”
All speakers had an ASL translator alongside them for the event.
Pat Saperstein contributed to this report.
Best of Variety