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Memorabilia from film award ceremonies goes on display

A collection of rare items from the Oscars and the Baftas is being showcased at The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum in Exeter is celebrating the awards season (University of Exeter/PA)
The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum in Exeter is celebrating the awards season (University of Exeter/PA)

A fascinating selection of memorabilia, collectables and curios that showcase the glitz and glamour of the world’s premier film award ceremonies has been put on public display.

The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum in Exeter is celebrating the awards season by showcasing a collection of rare items from the Oscars and the Baftas, spanning more than half a century.

Among the most captivating items in the small display are programmes from the ceremonies and sketches of the leading actors and actresses, and the museum even exhibits an Oscar-based board game.

The display will be available for public viewing until May 2019.

Dr Phil Wickham, curator of the museum, said: “The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum is a people’s history of the moving image.

“We are fascinated with the audience’s experience in seeing moving pictures over the last three centuries and how people have responded to what they have seen on the screen.

One of the most productive ways in which the film business found they could encourage audiences to see particular films was through award ceremonies Dr Phil Wickham, curator

“One of the most productive ways in which the film business found they could encourage audiences to see particular films was through award ceremonies.

“The Academy Awards, or Oscars, since they were first held in 1929, are of course the best known of these ceremonies.

“In Britain, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Baftas), have become increasingly important as a showcase for British talent and as a portent for what might happen on Oscar night.”

One of the most unusual items is a portfolio of sketches of every best actor and best actress Academy Award winner from 1928 to 1961.

Produced in 1962 by Nicholas Volpe, “Complete portrait collection of Academy Award winners” contains 69 different charcoal sketches of some of Hollywood’s most famous stars, such as Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor.

As many of the actors and actresses featured in the portfolio had died by 1962, Volpe had to search private collections, film libraries and old magazines for any information that would help him sketch the recipients.

The museum is also home to an Oscars programme from 1964 – a particularly notable year for the Academy Awards as it saw Sidney Poitier become the first black actor in a leading role to win an Oscar for his performance in Lilies Of The Field.

The display also highlights two programmes from the Baftas – one from the 1988/1989 awards and the second from 2015.

PA

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