Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Let’s browse the Motion Picture Academy’s vast archive of images

Hair and costume test for a blonde Judy Garland with three dispirited Munchkins,

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is most famous, of course, for putting on that so-called “gold rush in dinner jackets” known as The Oscars, a much-anticipated and much-dreaded annual event now just over a month away. But over the course of some 88 years in existence, this nonprofit organization has also amassed a sizable storehouse of movie-related images: publicity stills, advertisements, news clippings, candid snapshots, storyboards, concept drawings, and more. By its own estimation, the Academy’s collection includes “10 million photographs,” along with “50,000 posters” and “80,000 screenplays.” The task of navigating a collection of such extraordinary magnitude is, to say the least, daunting. Where to even begin? One answer is the Academy’s own Collection Highlights, an easy-to-browse gallery with images related to landmark films (including Apocalypse Now, Signin’ In The Rain, and Jaws), influential directors (from Alfred Hitchcock to Hiyao Miyazaki), and popular stars (such as Gregory Peck, Lena Horne, and James Dean). Though just a fraction of a fraction of what the Academy has to offer, this gallery nevertheless includes some neat artifacts, like an excerpt from the short story that inspired It’s a Wonderful Life:


Or an absurd, Thanksgiving-themed newspaper ad for Pulp Fiction:

There are even some storyboards for The Blues Brothers:


All in all, a not-half-bad way for movie obsessives to while away the hours until the interminable Oscar telecast finally arrives on February 22. Happy hunting.

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