Academy Selects Film Scholars

Beverly Hills, CA (March 23, 2010) — Hollywood’s copyright debates and the career of Oscar®-winning director Lewis Milestone will be the topics explored by Peter Decherney and Harlow Robinson, respectively, who have been selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as the 10th pair of Academy Film Scholars.

The Academy’s Institutional Grants Committee selected the two scholars for the honor on the basis of their manuscript proposals.  Each will receive $25,000 from the Academy to aid in the research and writing of their respective projects.

Decherney, an assistant professor of English and cinema studies at the University of Pennsylvania, will tackle the film industry’s engagement with copyright law and digital media, in such areas as antipiracy campaigns, filmmakers’ rights, plagiarism, fair use and the legal environment for new technologies.  The book will also demonstrate how Hollywood has responded to its intellectual property issues through self-regulation.  Decherney’s book will be titled Hollywood’s Copyright Wars.

Robinson, a Matthews Distinguished University Professor in the Department of History and Program in Cinema Studies at Northeastern University, will delve into Milestone’s 37-year career, during which he completed 38 feature films.  They include the Best Picture nominees “The Front Page” (1931), “Of Mice and Men” (1939) and “Mutiny on the Bounty” (1962) as well as Best Picture winner “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930).  As part of his research Robinson plans to interview current filmmakers, including Steven Soderbergh, who directed the remake of Milestone’s “Ocean’s Eleven” (1960).  The book will also examine Milestone’s contributions to a variety of film genres, including film noir, musical, comedy and war drama.  Robinson’s book is tentatively titled Lewis Milestone: A Hollywood Career.

Decherney and Robinson will receive the first half of their $25,000 grants at a luncheon this April.  The remaining half will be presented upon completion of the manuscripts, when the scholars will present their projects in lecture form at a public Academy event.

Established in 1999, the Academy Film Scholars program is designed to “stimulate and support the creation of new and significant works of film scholarship about aesthetic, cultural, educational, historical, theoretical or scientific aspects of theatrical motion pictures.”

Decherney and Robinson join 13 other Academy Film Scholars who are currently working on projects: Tino Balio, University of Wisconsin – Madison; John Belton, Rutgers University; Donald Crafton, University of Notre Dame; Jane Gaines, Duke University; Jan-Christopher Horak, University of California, Los Angeles; David E. James, University of Southern California; Richard B. Jewell, University of Southern California; Peter Lev, Towson University; Stuart Liebman, Queens College of the City University of New York; Charles Musser, Yale University; Steven J. Ross, University of Southern California; Shelley Stamp, University of California, Santa Cruz; and Emily Thompson, Princeton University.  Anne Friedberg of the University of Southern California passed away before significant progress could be made on her project.

Academy Film Scholars who have completed projects are writer Cari Beauchamp; Thomas Doherty, Brandeis University; Dana Polan, New York University; and David Rodowick, Harvard University.

The Academy’s cultural and educational wing – the Academy Foundation – annually grants more than $1 million to film scholars, cultural organizations and film festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad.  It is also through the Foundation that the Academy presents a rich assortment of screenings and other public programs each year.

For grant guidelines and information about the Academy Film Scholars program, contact Grants Coordinator Shawn Guthrie at (310) 247-3000, ext. 306, via e-mail at, or visit

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Teni Melidonian

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