Speed Reads

2021 Oscars

Here's how a train station was transformed into the site of this year's Academy Awards

This year's Oscars are on track to being one for the history books, and not just because the ceremony is taking place at a train station.

The Academy Awards are typically broadcast from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, but for 2021, the ceremony was moved to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Union Station has itself starred in several films, including Blade Runner and The Dark Knight Rises, and a stage has been set up in the Ticket Concourse, with only about 170 people — nominees and their one guest — in attendance. The tables are six feet apart, with just two to four people at each one, and no one is allowed to mingle.

It took several weeks to get Union Station ready for Oscar night, with different areas walled off and the famous leather and walnut chairs used by waiting passengers relocated to another part of the station. When it comes to the trains, it's business as usual — they are still coming and going, and the food and beverage vendors are operating just steps away from the makeshift stage.

Ken Pratt, Union Station's deputy executive officer for real estate, told The Wall Street Journal he made it clear to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences that "first and foremost, we are a transportation agency. We will not disrupt, delay, or cause problems for our passengers."