Academy Museum’s Opening Gala Will Honor Sophia Loren and Haile Gerima

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has announced details regarding its opening gala, which will be held on Sept. 25. The event will commence a week of celebrations leading up to the Los Angeles museum’s opening to the public on Sept. 30.

Ava DuVernay, Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum will serve as co-chairs at the upcoming gala. Murphy and Blum both serve as museum trustees, while DuVernay is an Academy governor who serves as an advisor on the upcoming exhibition “Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971,” which will open in 2022. Tom Hanks, Annette Bening and Bob Iger will also be recognized for helping the long-delayed museum raise $388 million.

The museum also revealed the introduction of two annual awards that will be presented for the first time at the gala. Italian film legend Sophia Loren will be the first recipient of the Visionary Award, which honors an artist or scholar whose extensive body of work advanced the art of cinema. Best known for her roles in “A Special Day” and “Two Women,” Loren recently starred in “The Life Ahead.” 

Ethiopian independent filmmaker Haile Gerima will receive the Vantage Award, which honors an artist or scholar who has helped contextualize and challenge dominant narratives around cinema. Gerima is acclaimed for portraits of Black life in films like “Bush Mama” and “Ashes & Embers.” Both awards are presented by Rolex, the official watch partner and founding supporter of the Academy Museum, with leadership support from J.P. Morgan.

Bill Kramer, the director and president of the Academy Museum, said in a statement that the museum is committed to celebrating and championing the work of film artists, scholars and professions through their exhibitions, screenings, programs, collections and annual gala.

“It is such an honor to be able to recognize both Haile Gerima and Sophia Loren for their impactful and inspirational artistry and to acknowledge the incredible work of our campaign committee,” Kramer said. “We are deeply grateful to our gala co-chairs and our sponsors for the extraordinary leadership and support of this inaugural event.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is located at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in the historic Saban Building, formerly the May Co. department store. It was designed by architect Renzo Piano. Inaugural attractions will include an exhibit celebrating legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and a 25-foot-long fiberglass shark crafted from the “Jaws” mold.

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