Acad theater won't be ready for 2001

Oscar will have to wait an additional year before realizing its dream and moving into a home of its own.

It now appears unlikely that the Academy theater, under construction at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, will be finished in time for the 2001 Academy Awards ceremony as originally planned.

Faced with a probable delay, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ board of governors decided at its June 15 meeting to hold the 2001 Oscarcast at an alternate location.

AMPAS exec director Bruce Davis confirmed the setback Wednesday.

“A lot of us were a little skeptical that the theater would be ready for an awards show in time,” Davis told Daily Variety. “But the developers assured us it could be done. In recent weeks we’ve been getting strong signals that it might not be ready.”

Next year’s awards ceremony, which takes place on March 26, was supposed to be the last one held at the Shrine Auditorium. But the 5,000-seat Shrine is now the likely contender for the 2001 Oscarcast as well. The alternative would be the 2,800-seat Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where this year’s ceremony was held.

Davis said the Academy has yet to strike a deal with either venue for 2001, however.

The 3,300-seat Academy theater, which developer TrizecHahn and architect David Rockwell are building to the Oscar org’s specifications, is part of the $385 million Hollywood & Highland retail and entertainment complex.

The Academy plans to make the theater a permanent home for the awards show, which has been held in nine different L.A.-area venues since its debut at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in May 1929.

Preliminary plans for the theater were first reported by Daily Variety in August 1997. On March 19 of this year, the Academy and TrizecHahn announced that AMPAS had signed off on architecture and design plans and that the venue would likely be ready in time for the 2001 show.

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