The Kodak Theatre has hosted the Academy Awards since 2001, and I kind of assumed that the ceremony would be staying there for the foreseeable future. I remember back when the Awards moved to the Kodak, with much ado made about how the theater was designed specifically to host the show and that now it would have a permanent home. That may not be the case, however. According to a report from THR, the Academy has informed the theatre that they will not automatically renew their release to present the show there after 2013.
Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Academy is looking to move, just that they’re keeping their options open. A lease not being automatically renewed wouldn’t even really be news if the Academy hadn’t already attracted a very viable second option. Apparently AEG and their Nokia Theater are keen on being the new home of the Oscars, and they seem to have some benefits that the Kodak can’t match.
Not only are they reportedly offering a lease very competitive with what the Academy currently has with the Kodak, but as ESPN senior VP Ron Semiao says, “The opportunities are so much greater at the Nokia. AEG has an infrastructure with so much marketing support it can really help you grow. It kicked the Espys up a notch as an event just because of everything that is there.” Sounds promising, and those comments hold some weight coming from a guy who has already hosted a big awards show at the theater.
President of Dick Clark Productions, Orly Adelson, had some praises to sing about the Nokia as well, “The Kodak has only one entrance to load in and load out [sets]. At the Nokia there are two. That’s crucial on the American Music Awards because we change sets every three minutes.” More gaudy sets would definitely be a plus.
None of this sounds like good news for the Kodak, who would be missing out on a huge chunk of change every year if the Awards set up shop somewhere else. When you factor in that their head sponsor Kodak just filed for bankruptcy and they probably have a name change somewhere in their future, also losing their initial raison d’être could make for a challenging task as they try to keep their venue viable. That’s a harsh reality from their side of the issue, but any move that gives Billy Crystal more room for his song and dance numbers has to be seen as good news in my book.