Duke, USC Professors Named Academy Scholars

Nov 26, 2001 by Ian Evans

Film professors from Duke University and the University of Southern California have been selected as Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Jane Gaines, director of the Program in Film and Video at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and Steven J. Ross, professor of history at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, are the second pair of film scholars to be selected by the Grants Committee of the Academy Foundation for the honor. Each will receive $25,000 from the Academy.

The two new Academy Film Scholars were selected on the basis of their proposals for new scholarly works presented to the committee.

Gaines will write an overview of the critical and historical work done to date on women in the silent film industry, to be entitled “Women Film Pioneers: Their Fictions, Their Histories.”

Ross will examine the relationship between movies, movie stars and American political culture across the entire 20th century in “Hollywood Left and Right: Movie Stars and Politics.”

The first half of the $25,000 grant will be presented at a luncheon today (11/26/01) at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The remaining half will be presented upon completion of the manuscripts.

“Our goal is to select from the top rank of important and influential American film historians and scholars for these grants,” said Grants Committee Chair Janet MacLachlan. “We’ve done that with these two selections.” Only established scholars, writers, historians and researchers with a significant record of achievement were considered for the grants, MacLachlan said.

The Academy Film Scholars program was created in 1999 by the Grants Committee of the Academy Foundation to “stimulate and support the creation of new, innovative and significant works of film scholarship about aesthetic, cultural, educational, historical, theoretical or scientific aspects of theatrical motion pictures.”

The two Academy Film Scholars will present their projects in lecture form at a public Academy event sometime following the completion of their work.