Academy Museum picks a classic for its opening movie. Highlights from 100-plus inaugural events

An illustration of the characters in "The Wizard of Oz."
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will kick off its in-person programming with screenings of “The Wizard of Oz.”
(Mark Matcho / For the Times)

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which opens Sept. 30, announced its inaugural programming Wednesday, and the film kicking off the festivities?

Hint: “There’s no place like home.”

The museum’s first public event will be two screenings of “The Wizard of Oz” on opening day with live music performed by the American Youth Symphony in the posh, 1,000-seat spherical theater building by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Oscar-nominated composer David Newman will conduct. Visitors also can peek at Dorothy’s ruby slippers, on view as part of the museum’s core exhibition, “Stories of Cinema.”

By the numbers? The museum has planned 115-plus screenings and other events, in two theaters, during its first three months.

The inaugural special exhibition is a retrospective of Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. One programming component includes screenings of all of Miyazaki’s feature films, including “Spirited Away” (2001) and “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988).

A film series, also called “Stories of Cinema,” highlights movies featured in the core exhibition. The museum will screen Patricia Cardoso’s groundbreaking 2002 film, “Real Women Have Curves,” and Bruce Lee’s 1972 action-comedy, “The Way of the Dragon.”


In conjunction with a gallery exhibition about composers curated by composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, the museum will present “Sound Off: A Celebration of Women Composers.” The series will screen films scored by women, including “Joker” (2019), which Guðnadóttir scored, and “Tron” (1982), which composer Wendy Carlos scored.

But not all of the screenings are directly related to exhibitions on view.

Every Sunday night the museum will present Academy Award nominees or winners as part of “Oscar Sundays.” The series will spotlight female directors to start, with screenings of Barbara Kopple’s 1976 documentary, “Harlan County, USA,” and Italian writer-director Lina Wertmüller’s 1975 “Seven Beauties.”

Throughout October, “Oscar Frights” will show Oscar-winning and -nominated horror films, including Jordan Peele’s 2017 directorial debut, “Get Out,” and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic, “Psycho.”

The museum will also present retrospectives of work by New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion and Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray.

Conversation series include “Legacy” — the first of which is a talk between museum trustee Laura Dern and her parents, Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd — and “In Conversation,” which premieres with a discussion between producers Effie T. Brown and Heather Rae.

Museum Chief Artistic and Programming Officer Jacqueline Stewart said in an announcement Wednesday that programming speaks to the museum’s broader mission to “share the art and science of cinema.”


“The museum’s schedule of opening programs,” she said, “illustrates the ways the Academy Museum will explore wide-ranging topics in film history while serving as a catalyst for new dialogues inspired by cinema and moviemaking.”

The Academy Museum will continue to offer virtual programming, as it has done since April, leading up to — and after — the opening. That includes a screening of “Y tu Mamá También,” on the occasion of the film’s 20th anniversary, paired with a conversation between writer-director Alfonso Cuarón and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki; a discussion between writer-director Spike Lee and writer-director-producer Shaka King; and a screening of the 1929 silent movie “Piccadilly” starring Anna May Wong.

“As with all of our exhibitions and initiatives,” museum Director Bill Kramer said in the announcement, “we are committed to showcasing the diverse art and artists of moviemaking in our theaters and educational spaces.”

Virtual screenings are free. Visitors may purchase tickets to in-person screenings and events, as well as general admission tickets to the museum, starting at 9 a.m. Aug. 5 on the museum’s website.