Getting into one of the 2,900 seats (priced at $100, $60 and $40) in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is no easy task--unless you're a presenter, a nominee or the mayor of Los Angeles.
Tickets are released the day before the ceremony . . . no sooner.
Otto Spoerri, who has supervised ticket distribution for the Academy for 10 years, points out that about 300 of the Pavilion's normal 3,215 seats are blocked out for the telecast and expanded stage needs of the Oscars. For what remains, he gave us this breakdown:
About 370-380 freebies (choice orchestra seats that normally would sell for $100) go to nominees (two each); 100-120 to presenters (two each).
250-300 more freebies to "invited guests" (Mayor Bradley, past academy presidents and governors, guild presidents, county supervisors, etc.--two each).
128 orchestra freebies for ABC executives and commercial sponsors of the show.
20 prime $100 tickets are sold to each major studio (down from 24 each in previous years).
"No more than 10 orchestra seats each," sometimes less, are sold to mini-majors like Cannon, Tri-Star and New World.
60 freebies to press execs.
With roughly 1,200 tickets already spoken for, the remaining 1,700 are offered to Academy members. Invitations are mailed on March 1 offering tickets on a first-come, first-served basis only by return mail (messengers, drivers and personal deliveries not accepted).
Is the public left out? Well . . . many members sell their tickets to brokers for a nice profit. Ken Baker at Murray's Tickets said Oscar tickets this year cost $550 apiece, no matter where the seating. He figures to handle no more than 20 such orders.