The Academy of Motion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences has named Harlow Robinson, Matthews Dis­tin­guished Uni­ver­sity Pro­fessor in the depart­ment of his­tory and in the pro­gram in cinema studies at North­eastern, a 2009 Academy Film Scholar. The award will enable Robinson to con­duct research and write a book on the famed Oscar-​​winning director Lewis Mile­stone, best known for films such as the orig­inal “Ocean’s Eleven” (1960); Best Motion Pic­ture nom­i­nees “The Front Page” (1931), “Of Mice and Men” (1939), and “Mutiny on the Bounty” (1962); and Best Motion Pic­ture winner “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930). Robinson was awarded a $25,000 grant based on his man­u­script proposal.

The Academy Film Scholars pro­gram was estab­lished in 1999 to stim­u­late and sup­port new and sig­nif­i­cant works of film schol­ar­ship. Each year, two estab­lished scholars, writers, or his­to­rians are awarded $25,000 each to research cul­tural, edu­ca­tional, his­tor­ical, the­o­ret­ical, and sci­en­tific aspects of the­atrical motion pictures.

Although Mile­stone is gen­er­ally rec­og­nized by film his­to­rians and critics as one of the major direc­tors of the ‘Golden Age of Hol­ly­wood,’ his career has received scant schol­arly atten­tion,” said Robinson.

Yet Mile­stone was one of the most con­sis­tent and pro­duc­tive craftsmen among direc­tors of his era and com­pleted 38 films over a period of 37 years,” he con­tinued. “During this time, the tech­nical pos­si­bil­i­ties of film under­went unprece­dented change and devel­op­ment, from silent to sound and from black-​​and-​​white to color.”

He also noted that the highly suc­cessful remake of Milestone’s film “Ocean’s Eleven” and two sequels directed by Steven Soder­bergh, whom Robinson plans to inter­view, have inspired renewed interest in Milestone’s movies.

Only a single, slim volume long out of print has been pub­lished on the life and work of Mile­stone, and it appeared nearly 30 years ago. Since then, his films have come in for reassess­ment. The grant from the Academy will enable me to con­duct addi­tional research and inter­views with film direc­tors, his­to­rians, and critics,” he added.

Peter Dech­erney, pro­fessor of cinema studies and Eng­lish at the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­vania, was also rec­og­nized as a 2009 Academy Film Scholar for his research on Hol­ly­wood copy­right debates. This is the 10th pair of scholars to receive such recog­ni­tion from the Academy.