LOS ANGELES — Dr. Ross Melnick and Dr. James Tweedie have been named 2017 Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Their respective book projects focus on Hollywood’s foreign ownership and operation of movie theaters, and the history and theory of Hollywood production design. The Academy’s Grants Committee will award Melnick and Tweedie each a $25,000 Film Scholars grant on the basis of their proposals.
"The Academy is delighted to support the noteworthy efforts of Melnick and Tweedie, whose unique visions will illuminate fundamental aspects of Hollywood history through new lenses," says Academy Grants committee chair Buffy Shutt. "We are confident these ambitious scholars will further the understanding and appreciation of motion pictures and hope their completed projects will spark inspiration in their peers and industry professionals alike."
Dr. Melnick is an associate professor of film and media studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. His project will examine the political, cultural, and industrial history of Hollywood's foreign ownership and operation of hundreds of motion picture theaters in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australasia, and South America from 1923 to 2013.
Dr. Tweedie is an associate professor of comparative literature, cinema and media, University of Washington. His book project will construct both a history and a theory of Hollywood production design, as it foregrounds the contributions of designers to the look of studio films and explains why that contribution matters, why design should be placed at the center of the creative process when we consider the classical studio system and its contemporary successors.
Melnick and Tweedie join 12 Academy film scholars who are currently working on projects and 17 other scholars whose works have already been published. Academy film scholars with projects in progress are Ellen Scott, Donna Kornhaber, Charles Musser, Emily Thompson, Stuart Liebman, John Belton, Harlow Robinson, Cari Beauchamp, Patrick Keating, Dan Streible, Thomas Schatz, and Laurence Kardish.
Established in 1999, the Academy Film Scholars (www.oscars.org/filmscholars) program is designed to support significant new works of film scholarship. The Academy’s cultural and educational wing – the Academy Foundation – annually awards grants to film scholars, cultural organizations and film festivals throughout the US and abroad. Through the Foundation, the Academy also presents a rich assortment of screenings and other public programs each year.