The Oscars take place only once a year, but the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is honoring the art of film year-round. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano the much-anticipated museum is located in the historic Saban building on Wilshire Boulevard. Its opening warranted not one but three grand affairs before the public opening on Sept. 30.
On Sept. 25, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures hosted an opening gala co-chaired by Jason Blum, Ava Duvernay, and Ryan Murphy. The event honored Haile Gerima and Sophia Loren, along with Bob Iger, Annette Bening and Tom Hanks.
Guests walked the green carpet decorated with large floral installations to a cocktail hour on the Wilshire Terrace, before entering a whimsical Hayao Miyazaki-inspired “tree tunnel” for a sit-down dinner by Wolfgang Puck catering and Piper-Heidsieck. Lady Gaga surprised the crowd with a performance that began from her seat.
The event raised more than $11 million for the museum dedicated to the arts, sciences, and artists of moviemaking. As Spike Lee noted, “This is not just a museum for Los Angeles but for the world.”
Some of the notable guests included J.J. Abrams, Judd Apatow, Angela Bassett, Warren Beatty, Colleen Bell, Selma Blair, Cher, Eva Chow, Darren Criss, Benedict Cumberbatch, Barry Diller, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Tiffany Haddish, Lydia Hearst, Kathy and Rick Hilton, Jennifer Hudson, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Keaton, Anna Kendrick, Regina King, Billie Lourd, Bob Mackie, Frank Marshall, Marlee Matlin, Christopher Nolan, Sarah Paulson, Zac Posen, Questlove, Issa Rae, Olivia Rodrigo, MJ Rodriguez, David O. Russell, Meg Ryan, Jurnee Smollett, Aaron Sorkin, Holland Taylor, Guillermo del Toro, John Waters, and Rita Wilson.
The following Tuesday, Sept. 28, was a low-key donor reception sans red carpet or media that started on the ground floor, then migrated up to the rooftop view for Wolfgang Puck’s famous smoked salmon pizza. Beverly Hills locals Tom Blumenthal from Geary’s, Agnes Lew from East West Bank and Courier Publisher John Bendheim mingled with the museum’s interior architect Kulapat Yantrasast.
The final blow-out event on Sept. 29 was co-hosted by Vanity Fair with co-chairs H.E.R. and Robert Pattinson in attendance. Guests included Gia Coppola, Amanda Demme, Zooey Deschanel, Josh Lucas, Rebel Wilson, Sydney Sweeney, Evan Ross, Elizabeth Jagger, Alex Israel, Jason Wu, Jeremy Scott, Alex Prager, Simon and Niki Haas, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy.
The evening began with guests crossing over the Barbara Streisand Bridge for a cocktail reception on the top floor under the stars of the glass dome on the Dolby Family Terrace. Later in the evening, the museum opened all of its five floors for the guests who took selfies in front of Dorothy’s iconic ruby red slippers from the “Wizard of Oz,” as if to remind themselves, “there is no place like home.”