Nokia Knocking on Oscar's Door
Academy begins talks with AEG to possibly move the awards for 2014.
Only days after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences told the Kodak Theatre in late December that it would not automatically renew its option to present the Oscars there after 2013, an aggressive suitor with deep pockets has emerged. AEG, which operates L.A. Live and the 7,100-seat Nokia Theatre, already is in discussions with Academy officials, a source tells THR. The downtown Los Angeles venue is offering a lease comparable to what the Academy pays CIM Group, owner of the 3,400-seat Kodak, but with a perks package that includes more seats, better infrastructure and more ancillary facilities for parties and press. "The opportunities are so much greater at the Nokia," says Ron Semiao, senior vp at ESPN, which in 2008 moved its annual ESPY Awards from the Kodak to the Nokia. And while both are great places to put on a TV show, Dick Clark Productions president Orly Adelson says the Nokia offers easier access: "The Kodak has only one entrance to load in and load out [sets]. At the Nokia, there are two. That's crucial on the American Music Awards because we change sets every three minutes." Also expected to bid are L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium and Music Center -- both of which have hosted the Oscars -- but they are smaller, and neither matches AEG's marketing muscle. The value of the Kodak lease is unknown, but the money at stake is significant: Academy tax records show the group spent $21.4 million to put on the 2010 Oscars, plus another $1.6 million for the Governors Ball.
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