This post about the Dolby Theatre was originally intended to be just about the venue. However, due to its intimate connection with the Academy Awards it has come under such controversy we felt the need to mention the trouble with the Oscars this year.
Update Feb 16 2019: We have learned that the Academy has changed its stance due to feedback from its members and the pubic. It will be airing the four awards presentation categories – Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short, and Makeup and Hairstyling – will be presented in the traditional format.
The Dolby Theatre is a live performance auditorium that has been home to the Academy Awards (the Oscars) since its opening in 2001. This year, however, instead of bringing fame and notoriety to the venue, the Oscars have brought it controversy and backlash.
The angry backlash began on February 11th when the Academy emailed members stating that they would be presenting four of the awards categories during commercial breaks. The awards cut out of the broadcast are for Best Cinematography, Film Editing, Live Action Short and Makeup and Hairstyling.
The outcry on the decision was swift. Social Media feeds were clogged with posts from those stating they would not watch the awards unless the slighted award categories were restored to the broadcast. Celebrities, including Russell Crowe, Brad Pitt, Emma Stone and Quentin Tarantino come out publicly against the decision. Crowe said it was “a fundamentally stupid decision… too dumb for words.”
Over 40 directors and cinematographers signed an open letter to the Academy criticizing their decision. The consensus is that cinematography, film editing, hair and makeup are of no less importance in the creation of an award winning film than any other component. Actually as one cinematographer stated, it may be more important. He noted that in the history of cinematography there have been films made without sound, without color, without music, without actors but no film has ever been created without cinematagropers or film editiors.
The statement is quite true and leaves one to wonder why these vital roles in filmmaking have taken the back seat for so long. The slight at the Academy Awards is just the latest in a long parade of events where the behind the scenes people involved in making films were sent to the back of the bus.
The role of the Academy Awards to the Dolby Theatre is so strong that the grand stairway to the Theatre is flanked by Art Deco columns displaying the names of past recipients of the Academy Award for Best Picture, with blank spaces left for future Best Picture winners, well into the 21st century.
When not preoccupied with the Oscars, the Dolby Theatre hosts live concerts, awards shows, symphony performances, and other events. Artists who have appeared there include Adele, Neil Young, Christina Aguilera, Elissa, Céline Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Dixie Chicks, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé Knowles, Alicia Keys, Elvis Costello, Vanilla Ice, Barry Manilow, Prince, and countless others.
At it’s opening the Dolby was named the Kodak Theatre. However, after Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012, the naming rights deal came to an end. Shortly after the theater came under another naming rights deal with Dolby Laboratories. It has since been known as the Dolby Theatre.
More photos after the break…