Could the Academy Awards Move to the Nokia Theatre ?
The Academy Awards' lease with the Kodak Theatre is up after the 2013 awards, leaving a space wide open for a new venue to swoop in and offer a better deal.
That venue could be the Nokia Theatre. Officially, the Academy Awards has said it is not negotiating for any shows beyond 2013, but anonymous sources have told both The Hollywood Reporter and The Los Angeles Times that AEG is making a bid for the award show.
The Kodak Theatre was basically built to host the Academy Awards and has done so since 2002, so what would the Nokia Theatre offer? It would be bigger and better. The Nokia Theatre has 7,100 seats, which is more than double the size of the 3,400-seat Kodak Theatre. The Nokia Theatre has a lot of marketing muscle, outdoor space around the venue and better infrastructure for putting on shows that has been gradually drawing more events, like the Espy Awards and American Music Awards.
But Bill Condon, producer of the 81st Academy Awards in 2009, told the Times that the Kodak was built to do the show and there aren't any huge logistical issues: "It has a very intimate feel. Technically there is nothing wrong with it. The camera can go almost anywhere. And the backstage space is massive enough to hold everything needed to put on a television show. Plus there are endless dressing rooms."
It could come down to money. Tax records show the Academy spent $21.4 million to put on the 2010 Oscars, the Reporter says. Kodak is expected to file bankruptcy soon and it might not be able to cough up the $4 million to have its name associated with the venue.
Some Hollywood boosters would be seriously bummed at the thought of the awards moving east.
"Obviously, we'd be very disappointed. The Kodak Theatre was designed for the academy but more than that, historically the academy is tied to Hollywood with the first Academy Awards held in Hollywood," Leron Gubler, the president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce told the Times.
Holding the Academy Awards downtown isn't sacrilegious. During the 1930s and 1940s, the awards were held at the Biltmore Hotel downtown, and it's been held periodically at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion since the venue opened in 1969. For a few years, the awards were even held in Santa Monica.