May 29, 2013
Brett Ratner’s million dollar penance to the Academy
Producer/director Brett Ratner has made amends with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a $1 million commitment to their Oscar museum capital campaign.
"Brett has a sincere love of movies and film history, and we are excited to welcome him to our group of supporters," Bill Kramer, the museum's managing director of development said in a statement.
Ratner's contribution is especially significant, since it appears that the rift between Ratner and the Academy has been healed.
"I feel blessed to be part of such a magnificent museum. I was blown away by the recent Kubrick exhibit at LACMA, which the Academy co-sponsored. I couldn't be more excited that our Academy will finally have its own museum that will preserve and exhibit cinema's greatest work," Ratner said, according to the press release.
Things weren't always so amiable.
In November 2011, Ratner was forced to resign as producer of the Oscar telecast when a series of crass public comments he made about gays and women caused a stir (first, there was the gay slur he uttered on the set of "Tower Heist," which he was directing, followed by a lewd interview on the Howard Stern show in which he tastelessly revealed details of his sexual habits).
Ratner's bad-boy image and bathroom mouth proved too vulgar for the prim Academy who encouraged him to step down. Ratner eventually repented, calling the Oscar gig "the proudest moment of my career" but admitted, "as painful as this may be for me, it would be worse if my association with the show were to be a distraction from the Academy and the high ideals it represents."
Ratner's million dollar penance is an expensive apology, but the Academy appears ready to forgive.
"Thanks to the generosity of founding supporters like Brett, we are now able to realize the long-held dream of the Academy and that of the global film community to build a museum dedicated to the history and future of the movies," said capital campaign chair Bob Iger.
Designed by architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali, the Academy Museum will be located next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in the historic Wilshire May Company building. According to the press release, the Academy's 2012 capital campaign, chaired by Iger, Annette Bening and Tom Hanks, has already secured more than half of its $300 million goal.