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OSCARS

Since when have the Oscars been held at the Dolby Theatre?

Los Angeles' Dolby Theatre will be the sole venue for the Oscars once more when the 94th Academy Awards are held on Sunday.

Update:
Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Dolby Theatre is closed to traffic as work begins on the installation of the Oscars red carpet, on March 18, 2022, in Hollywood, California. - The 94th Academy Awards will take place on March 27, 2022 at the Dolby Theat
ROBYN BECKAFP

Los Angeles' Dolby Theatre returns as the sole venue of the Oscars on Sunday, following last year’s multi-location event.

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 Academy Awards were held across several US and international venues, with the Dolby Theatre sharing the principal hosting duties with LA’s Union Station.

Designed for the Oscars, Dolby Theatre became venue in 2002

Before last year, the Oscars had taken place exclusively at the Dolby Theatre for almost two decades, going back to soon after the auditorium’s opening.

Initially known as the Kodak Theatre, the 3,300-seat Dolby Theatre was inaugurated in November 2001, having cost a reported $94 million to build. According to the venue’s website, it was designed “with the Academy Awards broadcast in mind”. Dolby took over the naming rights to the theatre in 2012.

It is located in the Hollywood & Highland, a 640,000-square-foot shopping, dining and entertainment complex in the heart of Hollywood.

The Dolby Theatre was the stage for the Oscars for the first time in March 2002. That year, the awards were dominated by A Beautiful Mind and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The movies won four statuettes each, including Best Picture for the former.

In 2012, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences signed a 20-year extension to its hosting deal with Hollywood & Highland owners CIM Group, ensuring the Oscars will remain at the Dolby Threatre until at least 2033.

Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Dolby Theatre is closed to traffic as work begins on the installation of the Oscars red carpet, on March 18, 2022, in Hollywood, California. - The 94th Academy Awards will take place on March 27, 2022 at the Dolby Theat
Full screen
Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Dolby Theatre is closed to traffic as work begins on the installation of the Oscars red carpet, on March 18, 2022, in Hollywood, California. - The 94th Academy Awards will take place on March 27, 2022 at the Dolby TheatROBYN BECKAFP

The Oscars before the Dolby Theatre: a brief history

Before moving to the Dolby Theatre at the beginning of the 21st century, the Oscars were held at several locations during their first 73 years of existence.

Originally a much more intimate affair, the ceremony was held as a banquet in its early years. Its maiden edition was at LA's Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, before the Oscars alternated between the city’s Ambassador Hotel and Biltmore Hotel between 1930 and 1943.

As interest in the awards grew, leading to larger attendances, the Academy opted in 1944 to begin staging the event in one of LA's theatres. After starting out at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Oscars moved to the Shrine Auditorium in 1947 and 1948, before taking place at the Academy’s Melrose Avenue theatre in 1949.

From 1950 to 1960, the Academy Awards were housed at the RKO Pantages Theater - and, between 1953 and 1957, also took place simultaneously at a location in New York. In 1953, this was the NBC International Theatre; between 1954 and 1957, it was the NBC Century Theatre.

The Oscars were switched to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium from 1961 to 1968, before settling down for a 19-year stint at the Los Angeles Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion until 1987.

The ceremony returned to the Shrine Auditorium in 1988 and 1989, then alternated between the Shrine and the Music Center between 1990 and 2001, before establishing itself at the newly-opened Dolby Theatre.

See also:

Follow 2022 Oscars live with AS USA

Hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes, the 2022 Oscars will air on Sunday at 8pm ET/5pm PT, with US viewers able to watch live on ABC. You'll also have live-text coverage of the 94th Academy Awards right here at AS USA.

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