Oscars may find sanctuary in 'Shrine' this year
Oscar organizers will switch the ceremony to the Shrine Auditorium if developers of the new Kodak Theater do not approve certain logistical and security stipulations by Oct. 15.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences confirmed Tuesday it had set the deadline for TrizecHahn Corp. The two parties have been in lengthy negotiations about all elements of next March’s kudocast, slated to be the first at the Kodak. The theater anchors a nearly $600 million development at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.
Among the sticking points: the extent of security sweeps of stores lining the route from Hollywood Boulevard to the theater; parking spaces for press members; and the amount of time allowed for the customary “orchid walk” into the theater.
Acad spokeswoman Leslie Unger maintained that last week’s terrorist attacks on the East Coast did not play a role in the org’s decision to set a deadline.
“It’s definitely not a direct reaction,” she said. “What did spark our reaction was that we thought these things were farther along and then there were some big steps backward late last week.”
Unger and a rep from TrizecHahn expressed optimism that an agreement can be reached. Unger noted that one motivation for the deadline is that the Acad has reserved the Oscar date at the Shrine, in case of a snafu at the Kodak.
An impasse seems unlikely, despite some frustrated jabs by Acad exec director Bruce Davis in an Internet report on the discord. He criticized the “shopping mall” feel of the complex, which he said carried more advertising signage than was originally specified.
“This isn’t about aesthetics,” Unger said. “It’s about logistics.”
As the centerpiece tenant and a long-term leaseholder, the Acad would appear to hold the upper hand in the talks. It is difficult to imagine the Hollywood & Highland complex succeeding without the Oscars, especially if its first year is tarred by a foiled return to the ceremony’s ancestral Hollywood home.