Who the Oscars really benefit

Posted by · 1:36 pm · February 22nd, 2010

AMPAS headquarters in Beverly HillsPeople get so wrapped in the seasonal mechanics of the Oscars, it’s easy to forget that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences actually has a purpose beyond the doling out of awards. It is, after all, an academy: an nonprofit organization dedicated both to preserving and developing American filmmaking.

The LA Times’s Christy Grosz offers a handy reminder of what AMPAS does all year round, and how the Academy Awards — with their $65 million license fee from ABC — essentially fund their activities.

Among the places where that money goes: screenwriting fellowships (Allison Anders and Susannah Grant are previous beneficiaries), college grants, film restoration and archiving of assorted movie memorabilia, with a long-term view toward building a museum of Hollywood history.

Grosz reports:

Although in 2007 the organization consulted an architect and drew up plans for an 8-acre campus adjacent to the existing Pickford Center in Hollywood, the Museum of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been put on indefinite hold, until the needed construction funds can be raised.

“You can’t have a future without a past or a present. You can’t forget the people that have come before you,” Sherak says. “The board believes that the history of our business is something that will interest people. We are going to build a museum, [but] right now it’s on hold.”

It’s good to keep this in mind when watching the Oscars. As you gnash your teeth over whichever of your favorites loses, or whatever song-and-dance atrocity the show’s producers serve up, you can at least take comfort in the fact that some folks, besides the winners, are gaining something from the occasion.

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4 responses so far

  • 1 2-22-2010 at 2:55 pm

    coffeefortwo said...

    Thanks for writing this. I’m as guilty as anyone for getting so caught up in what I do and don’t like about the show and which films and individuals receive the awards that I lose sight of the fact that this is also (perhaps primarily) a fundraiser for important work for anyone who cares about film. If reining in “Twilight” stars of questionable talent to take the stage for a couple minutes helps convince ABC to keep ponying up that much needed cash, then that’s fine with me.

    Of course, it’s so much easier for me to take this chilled out attitude now that “Hurt Locker” seems to have completely wrested the top prize from Cameron and his digital painting with all the colors of the wind.

  • 2 2-22-2010 at 3:52 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Umm, was that a veiled reference to Pocahontas, coffeefortwo?

  • 3 2-22-2010 at 6:53 pm

    coffeefortwo said...

    More unnecessarily snarky than veiled, but yes.

  • 4 2-22-2010 at 7:40 pm

    Silencio said...

    Nice. I didn’t know this.