PENELOPE SPHEERIS ON “THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION”

In this exclusive 2007 interview conducted by the Academy, filmmaker Penelope Spheeris explains the genesis of how she charted the Los Angeles music and social scene in the Eighties and Nineties. Catch her in person (with special guests to be announced) on April 4 and 18 when the entire “Decline of Western Civilization” series is screened by the Academy at LACMA’s Bing Theater.




ENNIO MORRICONE IN L.A.

Versatile, unique, engaging, passionate, magnificent, multifaceted. These words only begin to describe the complete works of film composer Ennio Morricone.

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The Italian-born artist’s music probably can be heard in more films than that of any other living composer. Spaghetti westerns such as Sergio Leone’s Once upon a Time in the West, gripping dramas including The Untouchables, heartwarming crowd-pleasers like Cinema Paradiso...
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THE ART OF INDEPENDENCE

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Independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch has been writing, directing and producing movies since the early 1980s. Released in 1989, Mystery Train was Jarmusch’s first color film. The loosely-woven plot revolves around the occupants of a small hotel in Memphis, Tennessee with three separate stories: two young Japanese tourists visiting Elvis Presley’s hometown, a stranded Italian widow escorting her husband’s coffin back home, and three bar buddies on the run from the law.

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OUR SIGNATURE EVENT

The first Academy Awards ceremony was a banquet dinner held in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in 1929, with winners selected three months prior to the ceremony. The tradition of revealing winners on the night of the ceremony began the following year, and all aspects of the event have grown ever since. The venues have gone from banquet rooms to theaters. The original 15 categories have swelled to 24, and an entirely separate show has been added for Scientific and Technical Aw...
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ACADEMY AWARDS DINNER... AND DANCING!

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Until 1943, the Academy Awards were handed out at banquets held in some of Los Angeles’s glitziest hotels. To celebrate achievements in filmmaking for 1932/33, the Academy chose the Fiesta Room at the Ambassador Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. The sixth annual ceremony, held on March 16, 1934, was attended by more than 200 industry notables.

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At the festive black-tie af...
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HOLLYWOOD OVER 70 YEARS AGO

Shot in the 1940s, this silent home movie features Hollywood and surrounding areas, including the Hollywoodland sign, Hollywood Boulevard, and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Filmed by James Telfer, a Warner Bros. cameraman, the footage shows the Hollywood Hotel, located at Hollywood and Highland. The site would later become the home to the Hollywood & Highland Center and the Dolby Theatre, where The Oscars® takes place every year. The Oscars®, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will air on Sunday, March 2, live on ABC.

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THE WINTER OLYMPICS ON FILM

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Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman) and François Reichenbach (Arthur Rubinstein – The Love of Life) co-directed Grenoble, the feature-length documentarythat chronicles the 1968 Winter Olympics. The beauty and high emotionalism of competitive sports are captured in intimate, impressionistic details without narration or dialog. Le...
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HOLLYWOOD AND THE WINTER OLYMPICS

On February 6, 1936, the IV Olympic Winter Games officially opened in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. This commemorative postcard sent to the actress Katharine Hepburn shows the picturesque town in the Bavarian Alps that played host to more than 600 athletes from 28 countries.

One of the competition’s most notable triumphs was that of Norwegian figure skater Sonja Henie, wh...
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“HOT TOMATOES” IN THE SNOW

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In the 1936 classic Swing Time, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers wander through this winter wonderland singing a lament to romantic frustration. The song, “A Fine Romance (Sarcastic Love Song),” has them trading lines like “We should be like a couple of hot tomatoes / But you’re as cold as yesterday’s mashed potatoes.” Now a staple of the American songbook, it was written by master composer Jero...
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ALWAYS A LADY

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It’s the 50th anniversary of My Fair Lady, winner of eight Academy Awards and one of the best-loved Hollywood musicals of all time. This exuberant print by legendary caricaturist Al Hirschfeld perfectly captures the famous scene at Ascot Racecourse, where Cockney flower seller Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) makes her high society debut. She is accompanied by her tutor, phonetics professor Henry Higgins (...
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