On Los Angeles’ Hollywood Boulevard there are a number of impressive cinemas from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to the El Capitan. However, one of the newer additions is The Dolby Theatre (formerly Kodak Theatre), which has been home to the Academy Awards since 2002. Every year the Hollywood A-list gather here for the biggest film awards show of them all, the Oscars. But apart from viewing the ceremony from the comfort of our living rooms, what’s it really like to be there during Oscars week?
Express.co.uk embarked on an exclusive tour a full six days before the 91st Academy Awards took place last month.
And while the interior of 3,400-seat Dolby Theatre was closed off to protect the secrecy of this year’s stage, all the busy preparations around it were more than enough to spark excitement for any devoted film fan.
Even will most of the week to go, a large chunk of Hollywood Boulevard was already shut off, as we were allowed special access onto the partially covered famous red carpet.
Protected from potential rain under a huge temporary canopy, it’s really quite the walk for the A-lister through the press, adoring fans and photo opportunities to the entrance of the Dolby Theatre.
As we visited this year’s red carpet, decorative Oscars plinths were being stood up, alongside the usual step and repeat banner for pictures of the stars.
By the time you get to the entrance of the Dolby Theatre, you can see previous Best Picture winners listed on columns on either side of the massive corridor.
Impressively they’re engraved from 1927/1928’s Wings all the way up to present day – but with space for future winners up until 2071.
Either side of these are a few small mall stores, but right ahead is the famous Grand Staircase up into the theatre’s interior.
While this was closed off to us, we were taken behind-the-scenes through some narrow passageways, past giant Oscars models and post-win interview booths to where the backstage crew were hard at work setting it all up to run smoothly on the big night.
Here’s where we had the opportunity to enter the Oscars Broadcast Truck, which was inhabited by Emmy-award winning Sound Engineer Paul Sandweiss and his team.
Every year Paul oversees exactly what the public view on their TVs all around the world, and at the time said he had no qualms about a hostless Academy Awards – the first in some three decades.
If anything when Sunday arrived this proved a huge hit, as seen by this year’s ratings boost. Certainly, Glenn Kiser, Director of the Dolby Institute was pleased with the result, saying: “2019 was the seventh year the Dolby Theatre played host to the Academy Awards,
“It’s exciting to see the transformation that takes place to prepare for Hollywood’s biggest night, and we’re proud of the role Dolby technologies played in bringing audiences deeper inside this year’s most compelling films.”
But for now, we’ll have to wait and see if the hostless Oscars has started a new trend for 2020.