The Academy made a shrewdly timed, high-profile announcement today when it said that Disney chief Bob Iger with serve as fundraising chairman for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, and Tom Hanks and Annette Bening will be co-chairs. There’s no doubt that having a studio chief who interacts daily with the financial powers-that-be working tandem with the star power of Hanks and Bening will kick-start donations for the museum, which is slated to rise in the historic May Co. building adjacent to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus on Wilshire Boulevard.
Sending out the press release two weeks before Oscar ballots are mailed, in the heart of awards season, ensures that the deep pockets who are in town to promote their awards hopefuls will know that the Academy is accepting checks. But what make the announcement clever is that it happens to coincide with the beginning of the publicity campaign for Hanks’ newest film, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” which will screen tonight in LACMA’s Bing Theater. It probably gives Hanks something different to discuss amid the string of “how did you prepare for your role?” questions, plus it gives the Academy’s plans for a consumer-driven museum more exposure to the consumers it’s hoping to attract.