Designed with the Academy Awards broadcast in mind, Dolby Theatre® has hosted the annual ceremony since 2001. Dolby Theatre is proud to be home to the highest honor in filmmaking through the year 2021.
When the first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, movies had just begun to talk. That first ceremony took place during a banquet held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The attendance was 250 and tickets cost $10.
Unlike today's ceremony, suspense was in short supply. Back then, the winners were known prior to the banquet. Results were given in advance to the newspapers for publication at 11 p.m. on the night of the Awards. In 1940, guests arriving for the affair could actually buy the 8:45 p.m. edition of the Los Angeles Times and read the winners. As a result, the sealed-envelope system was adopted the next year and remains in use today.
Interest in the Academy Awards has always run high, though not at today's fever pitch. While the first presentation escaped the media, an enthusiastic Los Angeles radio station covered the second banquet during a live one-hour broadcast. Every presentation since then has had broadcast coverage.
The first 15 Award presentations were banquet affairs held first in the Blossom Room, then at the Ambassador and Biltmore hotels. After 1942, increased attendance and World War II made banquets impractical, and the Awards moved to theaters, where they've been held since.
The 16th Awards ceremony was held at Grauman's Chinese Theater and was covered by network radio for the first time and broadcast overseas to American GI's. After three years at Grauman's, the Awards moved to the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium.
In March 1949, the 21st Awards were held in the Academy's own Melrose Avenue theater. For the next 11 years the Awards were held at the RKO Pantages Theater in Hollywood. It was there, on March 19, 1953, that the presentation was first televised. The NBC-TV and radio network carried the 25th Academy Awards ceremonies live from Hollywood with Bob Hope emceeing and from the NBC International Theater in New York with Fredric March making the presentations. In 1961, the Awards moved to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and for the next 10 years the ABC-TV and radio network handled the broadcasting duties.
The Oscars were first broadcast in color in 1966. From 1971 through 1975 NBC carried the Awards. ABC has televised the show since 1976 and is under contract through 2020.
On April 14, 1969, the 41st Academy Awards ceremonies moved to the brand new Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center of Los Angeles County. It was the first major event for this world-renowned cultural center.
The Awards remained at the Music Center until 1987, when they returned to the Shrine Auditorium for the 60th and 61st Awards. Subsequently the Awards moved back and forth between the Shrine and the Music Center. The Shrine Auditorium, with seating for 6,000, was used mainly to accommodate as many Academy members as possible; the Music Center seats only about 2,500. The Awards returned to Hollywood for the 2001 (74th) Awards Presentation at the state-of-the-art 3,300-seat Dolby Theatre.
"Academy Awards," "Oscar," and the Oscar statuette design are the registered trademarks, and the Oscar statuette the copyrighted property of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and are used under permission.