The successful contractor will refurbish and extend the derelict building into an eight-screen, 1,000 seater complex complete with high end restaurants and cafes.
Designs by BDP will see the existing ballroom, council chamber, committee rooms and court rooms kept and transformed into the cinema screens.
Coun John Hudson said: “This is a very imaginative scheme that is long overdue. Our duty as a council to do everything we can to make it happen and think everyone in Oldham will welcome it.”
The building, which was built in 1841, has stood empty since the council moved out in 1978 and the court closed in 1995.