That preview of the Oscar red carpet 2014 on E! look familiar? It should. You’ve been looking at it since the Academy Awards moved to their “permanent” home at the Dolby Theatre (previously the Kodak) in 2002. That’s 12 years. And it’s getting dull like Ryan Seacrest. It’s time for a change so dump the Dolby.
Oscar’s had lots of homes over the years, and that kept it fresh.
The very first awards ceremony was held at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood in 1929. Glam.
The menu that night.
Then they alternated between The Biltmore and Ambassador Hotels for a few years. That’s Henry Fonda at the bottom of this shot from 1937 in the “Biltmore Bowl.”
The young and handsome Frederic March, right, at the Ambassador in 1932. And Helen Hayes! And a guy named Frank Borzage.
At the Ambassador the ceremony was held in the Fiesta Room and at the world famous Coconut Grove nightclub. In this shot from 1943 during World War II you can see lots of uniformed guests, and behind the podium the number of industry members serving in the Armed Forces. And some coconuts.
The next year, 1944, the Academy moved the ceremony to Grauman’s Chinese to accommodate more servicemen and women.
In 1946 Joan Crawford couldn’t make it to Grauman’s to accept her best actress Oscar for Mildred Pierce. “Yes, I’m waiting tables in a downtown restaurant.”
In 1947, Oscar super-sized into the massive Shrine Auditorium. It’s bigger than Radio City.
That year Olivia de Havilland won Best Actress for To Each His Own (never heard of it). That’s Best Actor Ray Milland from 1945’s The Lost Weekend (heard of it) with her.
In 1949 the ceremony was a more modest affair. The Academy was forced to move the awards to their own 950-seat theater on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood after major studios withdrew their financial support after accusations of vote buying. That never happens.
Agnes Moorehead was nominated for Johnny Belinda.
From 1950 to 1960 Oscar called the Pantages Theater home. There’s a view from backstage.
1952. Isn’t this what the Oscars should look like? Glam!
1953 was the first year the ceremony was televised. That’s John Wayne at the podium.
Most-hosting Bob Hope yucks it up with Clark Gable, Cary Grant and David Niven at a rehearsal in 1958.
From 1961 to 1968 Oscar hung out on the beach, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
That’s much closer to Warren’s place in Malibu. There he is with sister Shirley MacLaine in 1966. Now she’s the other old lady on Downton Abbey.
Dig that Oscar podium. Walter Matthau and Shelly Winters in 1967.
In 1969, that year’s producer and Broadway legend Gower Champion moved Oscar to the sparkling new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion downtown. Fabulous. He had a rock band play while dancers wearing the nominated costumes danced the frug and the jerk. Crazy.
Ruth Gordon won that year for Rosemary’s Baby.
In 1970 Liz Taylor arrived at the Chandler with husband Richard Burton wearing the Hope Diamond.
Fans out front in 1980.
Then from 1988 to 2001 the ceremony alternated between the Chandler and the Shrine every year or so, which was fun. Olivia Newton John and Matt Lattanzi were out front at the Shrine in 1989.
Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson presented that year.
And Lucy made her very last public appearance the same night, here with husband Gary Morton.
Then in 2002 Oscar moved to the Kodak, now Dolby, Theatre and it’s been the same ever since. It might rain on Sunday, so that could mix things up. Probably not.
Let’s put next year’s venue on the Oscar ballot. I’m voting for the Hollywood Bowl. Now that would be glam.