New theater bringing Academy back to Tinseltown

It’s official: Oscar is coming to Hollywood Boulevard.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences said Thursday it has formally skedded the 74th annual Academy Awards ceremonies for Hollywood’s Kodak Theater. Kudofest and worldwide telecast will take place March 24.

Located at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue in a huge retail complex now under construction, the Kodak will be neighbor to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, where the inaugural Oscar ceremony took place in 1929. Move brings the awards back to Hollywood for the first time since 1960, when the show was held at the Pantages Theater.

“We are looking forward to going back to where the whole thing started,” Academy spokesman John Pavlik said. “In a sense, it will be an exciting return to yesteryear, but it also brings the awards to a theater that has been specifically designed to make the show exciting for the audience in the theater as well as a brilliant television program.”

Among special design specs are theater configurations that compensate for camera placements around the facility to preserve full sight lines for all in attendance, Pavlik said.

Site also will feature a 30,000-square-foot ballroom in which the Academy’s Governors Ball will be held after the telecast. Film giant Kodak paid $75 million to lock up naming rights for the venue.

The Kodak is the 10th Oscar location. Most recently, the Academy Awards have shuffled between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Shrine Auditorium in downtown L.A.

Awards presentations have originated 25 times from the Dorothy Chandler; 11 from the Pantages; 10 from the Shrine; eight each from the Biltmore Hotel and the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium; six from the Ambassador Hotel; three from Grauman’s Chinese Theater; and once each from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and the Academy Award Theater at the Acad’s former Melrose Avenue headquarters.

Longtime kudocast web ABC will again telecast the Oscars.

(Carl DiOrio contributed to this report.)