News Column

Kodak or no Kodak, that Remains a Question for Oscar Ceremony

Feb 24, 2012

As Hollywood is rolling out the red carpet for the 84th Oscar ceremony, it remains a myth whether the venue of the most watched Academy Awards ceremony will keep its name as Kodak Theater.

Kodak signed a 20-year contract in 2000 for naming rights of the Hollywood theater which was later announced the "permanent home" to the Academy Awards. However, the deal could face termination any minute now as the century-old photography giant filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year.

Kodak confirmed it has filed for termination of contract with the CIM group, which owns the mall where the Kodak Theater is located.

The owner of the theater on Wednesday declined to comment on the decision or the future of the theater's name.

Observers believe the name change will happen sooner or later. It is not known whether it could happen before the Oscar ceremony Sunday.

But Kodak will still have a presence at this year's Oscars show because seven of the nine films nominated for best picture were shot on Kodak film.

The divorce with the Oscars won't be complete before the motion picture industry completely turns digital, commentators say.

Kodak and Hollywood are so closely related that the first motion picture in the world was shot with Kodak reel in 1888. George Eastman, an American innovator and entrepreneur, established Eastman Kodak Company and invented roll films that made making movies possible.

But the match between the Oscars and Kodak did not start until 2000 when Kodak signed a deal with the CIM group to have the theater named by Kodak and agreed to pay 75 million U.S.dollars over the period of the next 20 years.

In 2002 the Kodak Theater became the venue of the Oscar ceremony for the first time and was announced the permanent home for the world most-watched gala. Since then, every Oscar ceremony has been held there.

Before its annual glamor in the Kodak Theater, the Oscar ceremonies had left footprints in several different venues.

The first Oscar ceremony was held in 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel, across the street from the Hollywood & Highland complex in Hollywood. The event, held as a banquet, then moved to the Ambassador and Biltmore Hotels.

In order to accommodate more attendees, the ceremony and the banquet, now called the Governor's Ball, were separated since 1942. In the mid-1940s, the Oscars were held in Grauman's Chinese Theater, which is adjacent to what is now the Hollywood & Highland mall where the Kodak Theater is situated.

Actually, Chinese Theater was the first venue the Oscar ceremony was held in a theater.

In 1949, the 21st Oscar awards were held in a theater owned by the Academy on Melrose Ave. It then moved to what was called the RKO Pantages Theater in Hollywood for 11 years. That was where the Oscars were held on March 19, 1953, the first year it became a television event.

In 1961, Oscars moved to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. In 1969, the Academy Awards were held in the then-new 2,500-seat Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles. They remained there until 1987, when they moved to the larger Shrine Auditorium near the University of Southern California campus. That venue accommodated more than 6,000 attendees.

The Oscars shifted back and forth between the Music Center and Shrine Auditorium until they moved in 2002 to the Kodak Theater.

Source: Copyright Xinhua News Agency - CEIS 2012

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