Since 2002, the Academy Awards have been held in the Kodak Theatre, a vertiginously tall, state-of-the-art venue in the heart of the Hollywood (technically, the Hollywood & Highland Center). And thanks to a deal announced today by the Academy and Hollywood & Highland owners CIM Group, the Oscars will continue to be held at the same venue, just with a new designation: The Dolby Theatre, named after the nearly-50-year-old audio technology company Dolby Laboratories. (UPDATE: Check out an artist rendering of the new Dolby Theater nameplate below.)
“The Academy’s Board of Governors believes that the home for our awards is in Hollywood,” said Academy president Tom Sherak in a statement.
“It is where the Academy and the motion picture industry are rooted. We are pleased to have a new agreement with CIM that will continue our longstanding partnership.”
Earlier this year, Kodak was forced to withdraw its naming agreement for the theater with CIM Group when the former company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The timing could scarcely have been worse, as just a few days before the filing, news broke that the Academy had exercised an option to explore other venues for the Oscars. It was a rather standard negotiating tactic – the Academy’s contract for the Kodak was nearing its expiration – but the two events nonetheless caused a great deal of twitterpation in Hollywood about whether the Oscars would be abandoning the very theater that was specifically designed to be its permanent home. (The walkway from Hollywood Blvd. into the theater is lined with columns proclaiming all the Best Picture winners since the Oscars began in 1929.)
The new deals seem designed in part to allay any concerns about where the Oscars will be held: Both Dolby’s naming agreement and the Academy’s agreement to remain in the theater won’t expire until at least 2033. At which point, the Oscars will be held on Jan. 1 after an instantaneous vote via inter-cerebral microchip, and the all-hologram reboot of Casablanca starring George Clooney and Greta Garbo will take home all the major awards. Probably.