Oscars Courted By AEG?

While the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has made it seem like it’s casually browsing for options other than Kodak Theatre to host the Oscars, one suitor might be ready to lure the film industry event.

AEG is talking with the AMPAS about bringing the Academy Awards to Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The venue would provide more seats (7,100 to Kodak’s 3,400), a newer facility, promotional opportunities and bring the event into the heart to L.A.’s new downtown entertainment district.

AEG and the Academy declined to comment to THR. However, off the record, “multiple sources” told Deadline Hollywood’s Nikki Finke there are no such talks.

“They tell us they want to stay at the venue and have not yet had any discussions or negotiations with the Nokia or anyone else,” Deadline reported. “So what’s going on? This all boils down to THR looking to manufacture news.”

AMPAS has a 20-year deal with the owners of the Kodak and the Academy’s Board of Governors exercised an option in early January that allowed it to look at other venues before recommitting for the final 10 years.

“Our plan right now is to exercise this [option] and then see what happens, what goes on. We’re open,” Academy President Tom Sherak told THR. “Personally, I love the Kodak. I’ll say that until I’m blue in the face.”

However, if the event switches to the Nokia, it will rejoin Kodak’s original facility operator, AEG.

“The opportunities are so much greater at the Nokia,” Ron Semiao, senior VP at ESPN, told the trade. “AEG has an infrastructure with so much marketing support it can really help you grow. It kicked the Espys up a notch as an event just because of everything that is there.”