View From Lodi, CA Pittsburgh, PA: Oscars And History
March is the month for
occasional discussion of the Oscar ceremony. This
Sunday amid much pomp and circumstance the coveted
statuette will be awarded by the grandly named
Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences.
Let me make perfectly clear up front
that my only credentials to comment meaningfully about
the Oscars expired long
Back in my youth, I did a fair amount
of informal movie research, too. Copies of
magazines were strewn about my house, the
barber shop and the local diner.
Next to baseball, reading about
Hollywood scandals was my second favorite pastime.
About today`s movies, I know next to
nothing. Of the ten nominated for best, I have seen
none. Ten actors and actresses
have been tapped as potentially Oscar`s best but I
recognize only six names.
The last movie I saw in a theater was Frost/Nixon,
a 2009 nominee that, because of its
highbrow subject matter, was doomed to lose.
qualifications aside, however, I will not be deterred
from opining. That`s one of the liberties of an opinion
columnist and I fully intend to take advantage of it.
My twist is that instead of
speculating about which actor will win, to which I have
already confessed about knowing little, I`ll share with
you information about the
Academy`s Museum of Motion Pictures, a valuable
project in progress that will be a boon not only to the
movie industry but to its worldwide fans.
museum`s eight-acre campus, tentatively scheduled to
open in 2014, will acquaint movie fans with cinema`s
Golden Era as well as other historic periods.
goal is to create a place to explore how film reflects
and shapes world culture by helping fans of all ages
grasp what the movies have meant—and continue to mean—in
the influence of American standards undiminished in many
western countries, understanding why we make an impact
For example, the museum will probe the
question of who are our heroes and how have they changed
over time? Some may answer
John Wayne, then and now.
Related questions will explore how
films have depicted controversial issues like
civil rights, religion,
gender relations, poverty and war. How have they shaped
our sense of masculinity, femininity and romance? How
Hollywood and Southern
California affected the image of the
at home and abroad?
help provide the answers, visitors will be able to view
films within their historical, cultural and
museum will stress not only the finished film but also
the creative process behind the movie.
of the movie making crafts will be explained to visitors
by inviting them onto a simulated soundstage, an art
department, a post-production studio or the Oscar show
Visitors will also be allowed to sit
in an imaginary director`s chair, costume a character,
light a starlet, choose a location, cast a film, edit a
trailer, score a movie and even walk
the red carpet.
museum, which will host premiers and tributes in its
state-of-the-art theater, will be open all year. Museum
officials are confident that the new venture will have a
longer lasting, more positive impact on the movie
industry than the transient annual awards ceremony.
As an added bonus, the museum should
bring more tourists to the beleaguered, financially
destitute Los Angeles
and its home state California.
P.S. I recommend that instead of
watching the tedious Oscar ceremony to rent a copy of
the 90-minute western classic
Bad Day at
Black Rock starring
Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin and filmed
in famous Lone Pine, California.
is a California native who recently fled the state
because of over-immigration, over-population and a
rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to
Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth
A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School,
Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It
currently appears in the