One last time, Acad picks Shrine for ’99

Oscar chooses Auditorium for final L.A. performance

In what might be Oscar’s swan song performance in downtown Los Angeles, the 1999 Academy Awards will be presented at the Shrine Auditorium Sunday, March 26, 2000.

This will the ninth time the Oscars have been held at the Shrine, whose main advantage to the Academy has always been its size. The cavernous, vaguely Middle Eastern-style building seats roughly 5,000 (as opposed to the 2,800 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion which, in recent years, has rotated with Shrine as the Oscar venue.)

“Each place has its own advantages,” said Gil Cates, who has produced Oscar shows in both locales. “The Dorothy Chandler is one of the most beautiful theaters in the country. You get an extraordinary feel and look. It’s also very exclusive. Very few shows are done there. The Shrine is very large, and the benefits are more seats for Academy members and a backstage area that works. It’s a very facile place to work.”

One reason behind the choice of the Shrine over the Chandler is that the Academy has said it would try and stage “farewell presentations” of the Oscars in each of the Downtown locales before the show moves to Hollywood.

If construction proceeds as planned, the Oscars will have a long-term home beginning in 2001 at the $385 million Hollywood & Highland project. It’s currently being built by developer TrizecHahn near those cross streets.

The Hollywood site contains a 3,300 seat theater that the Academy will rent for one month each year at Oscar time. The rest of the “urban entertainment destination” will include retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, television production facilities and a parking structure.

The 72nd Oscar presentation will broadcast on ABC at 5:30 p.m. As was done this year, the Academy will telecast a half-hour pre-show.