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Union Station is hosting the Oscars in addition to the Dolby Theatre

The biggest Oscars surprise to Angelenos has nothing to do with the nominations—instead it’s the fact that the awards are partially taking place in a train station (though, to be fair, it’s easily L.A.’s most spectacular transit destination).

The Academy announced this morning that in order to hold a properly distanced ceremony, the 93rd Oscars will take place on Sunday, April 25, 2021 at its usual location at the Dolby Theatre and at Union Station. Yes, that Union Station, the Metro, Metrolink and Amtrak hub in Downtown L.A.

Metro offered some additional details in a post on its Source blog: The event will take over the western half of the station, including the historic ticketing hall (which is typically only open for special events and photo shoots anyway), the grand waiting room and the north and south patios. In fact, the entire Alameda Street entrance will be closed to visitors; you’ll instead need to enter from the east side at the bus terminal on Vignes Street.

Union Station
Photograph: Kit Leong /

The transit agency reassures that it doesn’t expect any bus or rail closures due to the Oscars, which is surprising considering that the Hollywood & Highland Metro stop is typically closed during the ceremony, as are many of the streets surrounding the Dolby Theatre. It’s not clear yet how exactly each venue will be used.

If you’ve never stepped foot inside the historic station it may sound like a surprising move, but Union Station is a stately architectural gem; in fact, the 1939 Mission Moderne structure has occupied the top slot in our list of L.A.’s most beautiful buildings for years. And as for its connection to the film industry, it’s popped up in so many memorable movies, perhaps most notably in Blade Runner, but also in SpeedCatch Me If You Can and The Dark Knight Rises.

Though Union Station has never hosted the Oscars before, the awards show has staged in Downtown L.A.: More than 20 Academy Awards presentations were held at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion between 1969 and 1999; the Biltmore hosted a bunch between the 1920s and 40s; and the not-too-far-from-DTLA Shrine Auditorium and the now-demolished Ambassador Hotel both hosted the awards, too.

Union Station
Photograph: Michael Juliano

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