If you want to see the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards Oscar show from the street bleachers on Hollywood Boulevard in the blustery winds of January every year, you have to plan ahead. You have to enter a seat lottery in September from the Oscars.org website to get a ticket. But for the fan of movie making, past, present and future, if you want to visit Oscar the rest of the year, see him at one of many events and shows at Motion Picture Academy open to the public.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was formed in 1927 after a dinner at Louis B. Mayer’s house where the leading lights of the film industry suggested the need for an organization to promote and benefit the film “art”, with its first president Douglas Fairbanks and first Academy Awards ceremony held on May 16, 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The film organization with the long name, mostly just referred to as “the Academy” has its main office located on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The Academy has several initiatives and functions beyond the awards, but one of its principal objectives – presenting the history, science and art of the motion picture can be enjoyed by the interested film enthusiast through a number of events presented throughout the year.
The Samuel Goldwyn Theater in the Academy headquarters offers screenings of films, lecture and discussion panel events in a plush and magnificent film theater with giant golden Oscars watching over the proceedings. Some of the screenings are for great films of the past, restored, or more esoteric programs which for the true film fan or fascinated future film-maker can rarely be found anywhere else on the planet. Studies of the works by great film-makers from D.W. Griffith to George Lucas and discussions by Academy Award winning film artists and technicians on subjects ranging from screenwriting to cinematography, special effects, film formats, costume and set design. Screenings are also held at a separate screening room theater in Hollywood, the Linwood Dunn Theater on Vine Street at the Pickford Center for Motion Study.
Aside from the screening events, the first floor of the Academy Theater in Beverly Hills always has a display of rare and fascinating objects from movie history on display in the lobby and exhibition space. The themes can range from historic motion picture cameras to costume design illustrations and classic glamour photos of the great movie stars. Well worth the visit for any real movie aficionado
Tickets for screenings and guest speaker events are $5 general admission and $3 for students, a bargain when compared to a movie ticket at the mall multiplex. The schedule is available online or you can sign up for the monthly mailing or email calendar. Advance tickets can be purchased through the Academy website, or on-site, with the box office (really a walk up table) opening 45 minutes before the beginning of the event. It is possible you may see a familiar face at one of the screenings as they can sometimes attract stars and personalities who are Academy members and film fans as well.
For serious movie history research the Motion Picture Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library is also open to the public, located on La Cienega Boulevard just south of Wilshire in a former water pumping plant building. © Bargain Travel West
Linwood Dunn Theater
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