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How to Celebrate the Academy Awards Without Actually Watching Them

Lido Theater Newport Beach

If you want to be an Academy Awards traditionalist, you could sit yourself down on your living room couch this afternoon, pop some popcorn and watch A-listers tearfully accept their awards. It could be fun, poignant, maybe sedentarily dramatic but would it really be what the experience of seeing a movie is all about?

Another idea: Skip the show (everything is available On Demand anyway) and instead, visit the iconic Lido Theater in Newport Beach, a vintage gem among a sea of new construction that transports you to the Golden Age of Hollywood with its mere existence.

As it happens, the single-screen Lido Theater is currently showing two Oscar-nominated pictures: The Post, nominated for two awards, including best picture, and The Shape of Water, nominated for 13 awards, including best picture. (Find showtimes here.)

There’s also a bit of Newport Beach history to be made when you experience a movie at Lido Theater. The icon of cinematic splendor this year celebrates its 80th anniversary.

The Newport Beach landmark opened in 1938 with the Bette Davis movie, Jezebel. A resident of nearby Corona del Mar, Miss Davis traveled by the site daily while the theater was being built, and requested a sitting parlor in the ladies’ room that still remains today.

Meticulously restored in recent years, the Lido Theater features a new, state-of-the-art projection and sound system but builders were careful to maintain its Old Hollywood charm. Sparkling chandeliers drip inside the small lobby, vintage posters hang on walls, art deco touches sprinkle the space, a sumptuous, red velvet curtain hangs from the theater stage and the original box office still stands.

It’s just the kind of glamour you’ll glean at the Oscars tonight. But why watch actors clutch shiny awards when you can experience their work for yourself, in a theater that’s been proving for 80 years exactly why the best kind of movies are the ones that move us?

The Lido Theater // 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach // (949) 673-8350 or for showtimes
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