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Academy Awards could relocate to Nokia Theatre

By Tony Pierce
Published: Thursday, January 12, 2012, at 08:19AM
Emmy Red Carpet Eric Richardson

Setup for 2009 Emmy Awards takes places on Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live. Could this be what the Oscars look like in 2014?

The Kodak Theatre - with its gold and red decor, wide and deep staircases to make walking in flowing gowns and high heels easier - may have been designed just for the Oscars, but the Hollywood Blvd. address may lose its shining star if AEG successfully convinces the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to move across town to the less-than-historic Nokia Theatre.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Oscars' lease with the CIM Group (the Kodak Theatre's landlord) ends next year and the most famous award show on the planet is in negotiations with AEG (owner of and the Nokia Theatre, among other properties).

Although the Kodak sits next to the iconic Grauman's Chinese Theatre whose sidewalks are lined with the stars, the Nokia Theatre can provide almost twice as many attendees, as well as a much wider variety of pre-and-post telecast options for dining and entertaining.

Plus the ever ambitious AEG could roll out their own red carpet to the Academy for the opportunity to subtly advertise their many downtown properties (Staples Center, Club Nokia, L.A. Live) via the award show that reaches upwards to 1 billion people worldwide.

Currently the Emmy's, the American Music Awards and the People's Choice Awards call the Nokia Theatre home.

Bill Condon, who produced the Oscars in 2009, told the L.A. Times the Kodak remains perfect for the show, now ten years after its first broadcast.

"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." Condon told the Times, who also reports that AEG is in negotiations with the Academy.

The Deadline Hollywood blog, however, claim they have a statement from the Academy saying the Hollywood Reporter's story is "erroneous".

In a post co-written by Nikki Finke and Pete Hammond, Deadline wrote, "this all boils down to THR looking to manufacture news." The pair adds that it's also, "normal business posturing so that the Academy can put itself into the best possible bargaining position with the Kodak’s owner CIM group as the two sides start discussing the future."

If AEG, who is also trying to lure an NFL team to their huge swath of real estate along Figueroa, is able to nab the Oscars to the Nokia, it would not be the first time the awards were held downtown. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion hosted the event from 1969 to 1987 and six times in the '90s. And as far back as the '20s the ceremony was held at the Biltmore Hotel, a locale where the event was believed to have been conceived.

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