The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will use L.A.’s Union Station as a venue for this year’s Oscar telecast, after being forced to relocate due to the pandemic.
The Oscar show has been held at the Dolby Theatre (formerly the Kodak Theatre) every year since 2002. The 2021 show will also take place at the famed venue on Hollywood and Highland. But as COVID restrictions will remain in place on the show date, the annual ceremony celebrating the year’s best in film will be held in two locations in Los Angeles.
The location announcement was made early on Monday morning by Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas as the couple revealed nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards.
Union Station was built in 1939, and has been featured in hundreds of film and TV productions. It starred in the 1950 noir film “Union Station,” even though the film was set in Chicago, and also appeared in “Blade Runner.”
The Oscar show has never been held there before, and in normal times it would not be a suitable location. The facility is a transit hub for the city, connecting Amtrak, the subway, light rail, commuter rail, and various bus lines.
In normal years, the Hollywood/Highland subway station — underneath the Dolby — is shut down for the Oscar show. Union Station is too critical to the transit network to be shut down, so the logistics will be interesting.
“We’re going to be running normal service that day,” said Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Sotero said the front entrance of the station will be closed, so travelers will have to access it from the back side. He said that some buses would be detoured.
Sunday is typically the lightest day for transit use, and ridership has been a fraction of normal levels during the pandemic.
The show will make use of the Historic Ticketing Hall and the Grand Waiting Room. Over the last decade, Metro has invested $70 million in restoring the historic structure.
The Oscar show was last held downtown in 2001, when it was held at the Shrine Auditorium. The last time it was at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, closer to the city’s civic center, was in 1999.