Los Angeles, Sept. 22 (US): Projectors are spinning. Sapphire slippers on. Many Oscars are sitting shimmering. The shark has been hanging out and waiting for nearly a year.
Nine years after it was announced, four years after its first expected opening date, and five months after its planned release date, the American Film Academy Museum is ready to open to the public on September 30.
“I’m so excited to be able to finally say to you, hi boy, welcome to the Academy of the Moving Image,” Tom Hanks told reporters Tuesday at a media preview of the Los Angeles building and its exhibits. AP reports.
Hanks, a member of the Board of Trustees, led the fundraising for the project along with fellow actress Annette Bening and Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger.
“We all know that movies are made everywhere in the world, and they’re great movies,” Hanks said. “And other cities have movie museums, but with all due respect, created by the Academy of Motion Pictures, in Los Angeles, this museum should really be a Parthenon like that.”
The first thing most visitors will notice when entering the building is the Bruce Shark, which weighs 1,208 pounds (548 kilograms), 25 feet (7.6 meters) long, and is 46 years old, made from a “jaw” mould. Bruce hangs over the main escalator bank and was hoisted there last November in anticipation of what was planned to open in April.
The featured inaugural exhibition celebrates the work of legendary Japanese painter Hayao Miyazaki. Others examine the work of directors Spike Lee and Pedro Almodovar.
Some of the galleries focus on the Oscars, where actual statues have won through the decades, and speeches displayed on the walls.
Projected scenes are a theme throughout all of the museum’s galleries, taking technology from 18th century “magic lanterns” through silent films to today’s 3D digital technology.
Costumes from “The Wizard of Oz” to “The Wiz” are on display, including Dorothy’s sapphire slippers.
Announced in 2012 and slated to open for the first time in 2017, the museum has been experiencing delays typical of such a project, but multiplied by pandemic delays.
Designed by architect Renzo Piano, the Academy of the Moving Image Museum is 300,000 square feet (27,871 square meters) and consists of two buildings, one old and one new, at the corner of Wilshire Street and Fairfax Street next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
It’s shiny, new and phenomenal, packed with about 125 years of cinematic life-changing ideas, dreams, and experiences,” actress Anna Kendrick said at the media show.
The oldest structure is the 1930s Saban Building, which was once home to the May Company store. It is linked by bridges to a new building surmounted by a balcony and a concrete and glass dome that has a feature that could lead to a moniker.
Piano said Tuesday he hopes it’s a “soap bubble” and not a cinematic thing.
“Please, don’t call it the Death Star,” said the architect.