Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the 300,000-square-foot (about 27,900 square metres) building, a hub for movie lovers in the film capital of the world, will feature more than 50,000 square feet (about 4,650 square metres) of galleries, showcasing both permanent and temporary exhibitions, as well as two theatres, including the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater, an education studio and spaces for public and special events.
The museum, with its unparalleled collections, draws on a vast range of production objects and technology, covering the history of motion pictures in the United States and worldwide. Highlights include hundreds of special collections featuring film legends, including Cary Grant and Alfred Hitchcock. Through these immersive and dynamic displays, exhibitions, screenings and programmes, the museum is illuminating the past, present and future of cinema.
The Rolex Gallery
The Rolex Gallery, a permanent, multi-room experience on the museum’s third floor, features Stories of Cinema, with special installations that reveal the many aspects of moviemaking – technology, artists, history and social impact – through a variety of diverse and engaging voices that convey the magic of the big screen. These stories form a key part of the core exhibitions, highlighting different films, eras and genres, and embracing the work of various Academy Award® winners. In the area entitled Inventing Worlds and Characters, visitors can explore how various designers and technicians conceptualize the final production. On view are the many elements of filmmaking, from model works to animation cels and costumes.
“Drive carefully, Me”
Also on display in the museum is the Cosmograph Daytona previously owned by celebrated actor and motor sport enthusiast Paul Newman. The now legendary timepiece was a gift from Newman’s wife, actress Joanne Woodward, who, concerned for his safety when he took up car racing, had it engraved with the inscription “Drive carefully, Me”.
Historic bond with cinema
Rolex’s links with cinema, as manifest in its support of the Academy Museum, are not new; the kinship with filmmaking stretches back nearly a century. The brand and its watches have played their own leading role in films, appearing not through product placement but chosen by the greatest directors and actors to represent the strength, credibility and fortitude of the characters portrayed. Among the cinematic luminaries who have proudly worn Rolex timepieces in real life are Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Robert Redford and Clark Gable.
This close relationship between Rolex and Hollywood was formalized by its partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2017. Dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of cinema, the Academy is the organizer of the Oscars®, the film industry’s premier awards ceremony. Rolex thereby secured its role in film history by becoming the Academy’s Exclusive Watch and Proud Sponsor of the Oscars®. In this capacity, the company also designs and hosts the Greenroom, the space where presenters and guests mingle before going on stage to present the awards. In 2018, the brand became a sponsor of the Academy’s annual Governors Awards honouring lifetime achievement. Its support of the Academy Museum is part of this broadening relationship. The two organizations are united by a commitment to excellence, a sense of history and a mission to preserve and celebrate the creation of extraordinary works – masterpieces.
Perpetuating the cinematic arts
The purpose of Rolex and filmmakers is to create classics that capture a moment in time and stay relevant over the years. Like the brand’s world-renowned watches, everlasting film masterpieces – as demonstrated by the very concept of the Academy Museum itself – can be achieved only through the efforts of visionaries and a diverse array of skilled professionals.
In this vein, the company maintains a privileged relationship with filmmaking masters who have become Rolex Testimonees. These ambassadors are constantly pushing back the limits of storytelling and those of cinema itself. Two incontrovertible masters who serve as Testimonees and have made an indelible mark on the movie industry are Martin Scorsese and James Cameron.
Scorsese has played a dual role at Rolex, serving also as a mentor in the brand’s Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, which since 2002 has paired promising young talents in a variety of artistic disciplines with masters in their field for a period of creative collaboration. Among the eight towering figures who have served as film mentors are Alfonso Cuarón and Spike Lee, both of whom were invited to share their craft and insights at virtual events staged by the Academy Museum. prior to its official opening. (Director’s Inspiration: Spike Lee is a gallery dedicated to the filmmaker’s body of work.)
The Arts Initiative further embodies Rolex’s commitment to push back the frontiers and pass on knowledge from one generation to the next. It is this same motivation that has inspired Rolex to support the Academy Museum in its endeavour to preserve and shed a perpetual light on cinema.