Academy chooses two new film scholars

Feb 08, 2008 by Ian Evans

As I’ve said before, if you think the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is just about the Oscars®, think again. As part of its educational programs, AMPAS has named their eighth pair of Academy Film Scholars.

The evolution of color in motion pictures and the corporate history of RKO Radio Pictures will be the topics explored by John Belton and Richard B. Jewell, respectively. The Institutional Grants Committee of the Academy Foundation, the educational wing of the Academy, selected the two scholars for the honor on the basis of their manuscript proposals. Each will receive $25,000 from the Academy to aid in the research and writing of their respective projects.

Belton, a professor of film at Rutgers University since 1995, will trace the evolution of color in motion pictures from novelty to norm and seek to explain the 70-year delay in this transformation through an analysis of the technological, economic and ideological forces that influenced its development. His book will be titled From Paintbrush to Paintbox: A History of Motion Picture Color.

Jewell, the Hugh M. Hefner Professor of American Film in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, will examine the history of major studio RKO Radio Pictures with a focus on the major studio’s numerous executives, their production, distribution and exhibition philosophies and their differing approaches to the business of motion pictures. His book will be titled RKO Radio Pictures: A Corporate History.

Belton and Jewell join ten other Academy Film Scholars who are currently working on projects: Tino Balio, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Donald Crafton, University of Notre Dame; Jane Gaines, Duke University; Jan-Christopher Horak, University of California, Los Angeles; David E. James, University of Southern California; Stuart Liebman, Queens College of the City University of New York; Charles Musser, Yale University; Steven J. Ross, University of Southern California; Shelley Stamp, University of California, Santa Cruz; and Emily Thompson, Princeton University. Academy Film Scholars who have completed projects are writer Cari Beauchamp; Thomas Doherty, Brandeis University; Dana Polan, New York University; and David Rodowick, Harvard University.