Sneak peek of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

LOS ANGELES -- It's a dream that has now become a reality after a decade.

A new museum in Los Angeles was conceived by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, best known for giving out Oscars every year. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures opens to the public on September 30, but I got a preview this week.

Tom Hanks joined Annette Bening and Disney's Executive Chairman Bob Iger to help raise money for the new museum.

"It's an extraordinary building," Hanks said. "It's an amazing space. It's an inclusive space."

The David Geffen Theater, where a news conference was held, is located in a remarkable sphere designed by famed architect Renzo Piano and joined to the art deco Saban Building that once housed a department store.

"We are deeply committed to celebrating moviemaking," Museum President Bill Kramer said. "Showing you films and filmmakers you may not know about, but also giving you great moments of joy and celebration around films that you know and love."

It's history on display, and "The Wizard of Oz" has its own room -- complete Dorothy's ruby slippers.

"The ruby slippers are such an iconic vision, and it's sort of the Mona Lisa of the Academy Museum," Academy President David Rubin said.

I've been tracking this project with Motion Picture Academy CEO Dawn Hudson since 2012, and she reminded me that The Academy, "had a collective vision to bring this to life."

In 2018, she showed me around the construction site.

"I'm almost overwhelmed standing here," she said.

The project faced numerous delays and ended up costing more than $480 million, but as Hudson points out now, "Anything that's worth doing is hard."

There's a room devoted to the history of the Academy Awards, and you can see Oscars won by some of the giants of this industry.

And yet, it's not all about the triumphs.

The trials and the tribulations are also represented, and so are the stories that may be less familiar: The contributions of artists of color and the importance of women across the history of filmmaking.

That's important to the museum's Chief Artistic and Programming Officer Jacqueline Stewart, because such people, "have always been there."

People like Haile Gerima, who spent his career outside mainstream show business and who is being honored at a big gala on Saturday night.

"We graduated from film school into a desert, because no institution wanted to embrace us," he said.

Gerima gets his due at the museum after decades, part of an effort to speak frankly about "racism, oppression, sexism and homophobia in the film industry," Kramer said. "While still celebrating the majesty, the artistry of moviemaking. You can do both."
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