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Oscar statuette on display at downtown IMAX

9/1/2022 12AM

Historic item on loan from Liza Minnelli to Great American Songbook Foundation


CARMEL, Ind. – Movie buffs visiting the Indiana State Museum’s IMAX Theater this month may have a surprise encounter with a flashy character.


His friends call him Oscar.


A gold Academy Award statuette sits in a plexiglass display case in the IMAX Theater lobby.

This Academy Award, presented to Vincente Minnelli in 1959, is on loan to the Songbook Foundation and on display through mid-September at the IMAX Theater in the Indiana State Museum at White River State Park.

A genuine Academy Award statuette – presented to Vincente Minnelli as Best Director for the smash 1958 musical Gigi – will be on display in the lobby through Sept. 15 as the theater at White River State Park in Indianapolis presents Oscar-winning films including Jaws and The Godfather. The historic item is on loan to the Carmel-based Great American Songbook Foundation from EGOT-winner Liza Minnelli, the late Vincente’s daughter and a close friend of Songbook Foundation Founder Michael Feinstein.


“Not only is our IMAX home to the largest movie screen in Indiana, but we’re now one of the only movie theaters in the country with an Academy Award on display,” said Jake Oakman, executive director of the White River State Park Development Commission. “We’re grateful to partner with the Great American Songbook Foundation on this unique exhibit and thankful to the legendary Liza Minnelli for allowing us to showcase this piece of Hollywood history in White River State Park.”


Gigi, a romantic comedy starring Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jordan, featured a screenplay and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, arranged and conducted by André Previn. The movie swept the 1959 Academy Awards, claiming a record-breaking nine Oscars including Best Picture. The Library of Congress later selected the film for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, and the American Film Institute ranked it #35 on its 100 Years ... 100 Passions list of cinema’s greatest love stories.


The theater’s schedule over the next two weeks includes Jaws, in IMAX for the first time ever, from Sept. 1 through 8, and a special one-time screening of The Godfather on Sept. 13, with the first 150 guests treated to the film’s signature pastry, cannoli. Also showing are the Indian film Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva from Sept. 8 through 15 and an early-access screening of Moonage Daydream, a documentary about rock icon David Bowie, on Sept. 12.


The Great American Songbook Foundation, headquartered at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts, celebrates and preserves the history of the Tin Pan Alley tunes, jazz standards and songs from Broadway and Hollywood that form the foundation of American popular music. Among other education and preservation initiatives, the nonprofit organization maintains a vast Songbook Library & Archives with more than 500,000 documents, recordings, images and memorabilia representing the music’s creators and performers.


The Songbook Foundation operates a multimedia exhibit gallery at the Palladium and is in the planning stages of establishing a standalone Songbook Hall of Fame Museum.


“This partnership with White River State Park, the museum and the theater is a fun, short-term opportunity, but it speaks to the work we do every day at the Songbook Foundation, preserving and sharing the legacy of popular culture that brings so much magic and meaning to our lives,” said Christopher Lewis, executive director of the Great American Songbook Foundation. “We look forward to future partnerships with these and other organizations that share our vision.”


About the Great American Songbook Foundation

The mission of the Great American Songbook Foundation, founded in 2007 by five-time Grammy® Award nominee Michael Feinstein, is to inspire and educate by celebrating the timeless standards of pop, jazz, Broadway and Hollywood. Headquartered at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, the Foundation advances this rich legacy by curating physical artifacts of its creators, performers and publishers; operating a multimedia exhibit gallery; overseeing the Songbook Hall of Fame; offering programs for the public and research opportunities for scholars and artists; and providing educational opportunities for student musicians, including the annual Songbook Academy® summer intensive. The Foundation is a Cultural Affiliate of the Los Angeles-based Grammy Museum®. More information is available at