Glenn Frankel and Keri Walsh have been named 2018 Academy Film Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Their respective book projects explore the historical context and creative influence of the revolutionary film for its time, Midnight Cowboy, and examine female Method actors and how their feminist contributions earned them a place in the history of film. The Academy’s Educational Grants Committee will award both Frankel and Walsh the scholars’ $25,000 grant awards on the basis of their proposals.
“I am thrilled to support Frankel and Walsh in their research so that they may share their expertise for these timely topics that are not only significant to the film industry, but to society as whole,” said Academy Grants Committee Chair Buffy Shutt. “Their works illuminate the importance of diversity and inclusion in the history of film, something that is essential to remember as we look to further the Academy’s mission. We all look forward to seeing the outcome of their research.”
Frankel’s book will focus on the Oscar-winning best picture, Midnight Cowboy, analyzing how the artists behind the film contributed to this boundary breaking film that signified a shift in representation of sexuality in the 1960’s. As Frankel’s third book researching the implications of cowboy films in American history, it explores not only the historical implications of the film, but also the creative elements that led to its success and a milestone in Hollywood’s acceptance of diverse and controversial subject matters.
Walsh is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Fordham University. Her project will be among the first scholarly works to explore what is critical and feminist about Method acting in Hollywood films. Primarily focused on Method performances by women from the late 1940s to the early 1960s, she illuminates their neglected and concealed work, and ultimately showcases how it broadened women’s possibilities of acting.
Frankel and Walsh join 14 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 Dr. Ellen Scott, Dr. Donna Kornhaber, Charles Musser, Emily Thompson, Stuart Liebman, John Belton, Harlow Robinson, Cari Beauchamp, Patrick Keating, Dan Streible, Thomas Schatz, Laurence Kardish, James Tweedie and Ross Melnick.
Established in 1999, the Academy Film Scholars 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 U.S. and abroad. Through the Foundation, the Academy also presents a rich assortment of screenings and other public programs each year.