While it is a celebration of cinema, the museum also looks at Hollywood’s often problematic history, like the 1940 treatment of Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Oscar, who was seated in the back of the room at the ceremony. An Impact/Reflection gallery touches on the crossroads between cinema and real-world phenomena such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo. Another exhibit looks at racism and sexism in animation and another, on makeup, addresses the history of blackface and yellowface.
A star-studded gala co-chaired by Jason Blum, Ava Duvernay, and Ryan Murphy was held September 25 with honorees including Italian screen legend Sophia Loren, who received the museum's inaugural annual Visionary Award, and indie filmmaker Haile Gerima, recipient of the Vantage Award. Attendees like actors Laura Dern and Eva Longoria, and designers Diane von Furstenberg and Olivier de Givenchy were entertained with a short set by Lady Gaga.
“It matters for Los Angeles to have this film museum,” Tom Hanks told the press. He, along with Annette Bening and Disney executive Bob Iger raised $388 million for the museum. “We need to celebrate everything this town has brought the world, everything this art form has brought to the world, in order to bring people together to be the magical art that speaks to everybody everywhere.”