Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

First off, my apologies for the picture of flyers, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances. As you can guess, security at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AKA the Oscars) headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard is pretty tight, and cameras are prohibited.

So this will have to do as the image for two visually stunning exhibits: Chuck Jones, An Animators Life From A to Z-Z-Z-Z and The Fantastical World of Ray Harryhausen.

I went for a looksie at Chuck's work. When I worked at the auction company in the '90s, we had animation sales, and this medium was so fascinating to me. (I later took old-school animation and storyboarding classes, with not a computer in sight.) I'd seen many auction consignments, but these items are directly connected to Chuck himself. Here on display, you can see original drawings, backgrounds, character studies, production cels, storyboards, color models and other pieces to the production process. All your favorites are there: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Pepe Le Pew, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, plus the Grinch, Horton Hears A Who, and Tom and Jerry. Chuck won an Academy Award in 1965 for "The Dot and the Line" and was nominated for two more. In 1995, he received an Honorary Academy Award for his 50-years of "classic cartoons which have brought worldwide joy," and you can see this Oscar surrounded by all his delightful characters.

Much to my surprise, on the fourth floor is the Ray Harryhausen exhibit. Although his name is not as familiar as Chuck Jones, I'm sure you know Harryhausen's work. He's the man behind the stop-motion animation of the 1949 "Mighty Joe Young" to the 1981 "Clash of the Titans" movies. He also made some sci-fi classics like "It Came From Beneath the Sea" and "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers." I'm here to tell you how much fun it was to see the set pieces with the breakaway parts and the armatured models that made the action come to life! Film clips were shown on two screens, with moulds, bronzes, photographs and storyboards nearby. If you know me at all, you know I love the cheese of this pre-computerized film genre, and to get a behind-the-scenes look was incredible. What a treat!

Note that these exhibits are both free and are on display through August 22.

Click here to go the The Academy's Web site.

No comments:

Post a Comment