You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Academy’s “Talks” to Move Oscars Are Negotiating Tactic

While the notion of the Academy being in talks to move the Oscar ceremony to a new venue makes for a juicy Wednesday-afternoon scoop, Alex Ben Block’s piece for The Hollywood Reporter seems like it’s more negotiating tactic than actual story.

According to Block, who has been tracking the Academy’s renegotiations with the Kodak Theatre, Academy reps are looking at downtown’s L.A. Live as a possible new home for the Oscar ceremony. Its current 10-year contract with the owners of the Kodak expires in 2013, and the Academy just notified the owners that it would not automatically renew, exercising its right to entertain other suitors.

Block makes a good case for why L.A. Live would be a great new home for the telecast, citing “more seats, better infrastructure, greater promotional opportunities and more ancillary facilities for parties and press.” Of these benefits, the only one that has the potential to woo the Academy is better infrastructure. The rest of them are irrelevant.

L.A. Live wasn’t even a twinkle in Philip Anschutz’s eye back in 2001 when the Academy first moved from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to the shiny new Kodak, and it certainly has the advantage of being constructed specifically for the purpose of hosting live televised events like the Oscars. So, by virtue of being newer, L.A. Live could be a better venue.

That said, the other advantages Block points to just don’t make any sense. First, the Academy cut the number of tickets available to the ceremony when it moved out of the Chandler. There was some outcry for the first year, but after that everyone seemed to adjust to a smaller auditorium. So why change everything around again in order to get more seats back into the mix? As long as the cameras are there to record every moment, the Oscars are reaching everyone they need to.

Second, and this is a big one, Block cites greater promotional opportunities for the ceremony being at L.A. Live, noting that the e-billboards could offer better visibility. But, really, since when does the ceremony need outdoor signage, particularly outside of the epicenter of the industry? The Oscars need consumer eyeballs watching that ABC telecast, and a billboard in downtown Los Angeles is not the way to get them. Interstitials on ABC will do the trick just fine, no matter where the ceremony happens.

L.A. Live has additional space for after-parties, but the only real after-party that matters is the Governor’s Ball. It seems unlikely that the Academy would opt for a Golden Globes-style venue-o’-revelry, where all of the parties take place in the same building as the ceremony. It could make the lives of security guards a lot easier, but industry-types seem a lot more comfortable in West Hollywood-Golden Triangle environs. It’s bad enough that they have to experience Hollywood Boulevard once a year — no disrespect to the Supermen, Wookies and Marilyn Monroes who work the Walk of Fame every day.

All in all, this sounds like good, old-fashioned negotiation maneuvers, and AEG will be just one appointment on the Academy’s calendar. After all, even the Academy could use a better deal with the Kodak in these tough economic times. But who knows? The way the Academy is zigging and zagging these days, they might just decide to build their own venue.

 Follow me on Twitter @VarietyAwards.


More Film

  • Singapore Actor Aloysius Pang Dies at

    Singapore Actor Aloysius Pang Killed on Military Service, At 28

    Singapore actor, Aloysius Pang died Wednesday of injuries sustained while on military training in New Zealand. He was 28. Pang was best known for his appearance in movies “Young & Fabulous,” and “Timeless Love.” He also had a string of credits in Singapore TV series. Pang was involved in accident last week, while repairing a [...]

  • Alibaba Expands Film Investment, Loans $100

    Alibaba Expands Film Investment Plan, Loans $100 Million to Huayi Bros.

    Alibaba Pictures Group, the film business arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has struck a strategic co-operation deal with leading film studio Huayi Brothers. The deal terms include a $103 million (RMB700 million) loan to Huayi. Alibaba Pictures said the agreement was part of its recently announced strategy to be a part of major movies [...]

  • Netflix Buys Taiwan Black Comedy 'Dear

    Netflix Buys Taiwan Black Comedy 'Dear Ex'

    Netflix has added to its roster of Mandarin-language content with the acquisition of rights to Taiwanese dark comedy “Dear Ex.” The award-winning film will play out from Feb. 1. The story involves a recently bereaved widow and a gay man fighting over a dead man’s inheritance, with the woman’s teenage son caught in the middle. [...]

  • Audrey Wells

    Film News Roundup: Audrey Wells Scholarships Launched by UCLA, China's Pearl Studio

    In today’s film news roundup, Pearl Studio and UCLA start a “Say Yes!” scholarship in memory of Audrey Well; Gina Lollobrigida and Claudia Cardinale are honored; and the “General Magic” documentary gets bought. SCHOLARSHIPS UNVEILED China’s Pearl Studio has made a gift of $100,000 for endowed scholarships to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and [...]

  • Honey Boy Knock Down the House

    Sundance Hot Titles List: 13 Buzzy Films That Have Buyers Talking

    There’s a good reason that much of Hollywood braves the thin mountain air each year to make the trek to the Sundance Film Festival, and it’s not to check out the nearby ski slopes. The annual launch of the indie film gathering brings with it the possibility of discovering the next big thing in moviemaking. [...]

  • (L to R) VIGGO MORTENSEN and

    Will Oscar Nominations Give This Year's Contenders a Box Office Boost?

    With nominees like “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “A Star Is Born,” the 2018 class of movies proved the Oscars don’t need a popular films category to recognize movies that also made bank in theaters. But now that the academy has selected this year’s crop of awards hopefuls, is there any green left to squeeze [...]

  • A24 Buys Sequel to Tilda Swinton's

    Sundance: A24 Buys Sequel to Tilda Swinton's Romance-Drama 'The Souvenir'

    A24 has bought the North American rights to Tilda Swinton’s romance-drama “The Souvenir – Part 2,” closing the deal on the eve of the Sundance Film Festival. “The Souvenir” is set to make its world premiere at Sundance on Jan. 27, followed by playing in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival in February. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content