A Sanitized Oscars on a Champagne 'Red' Carpet
Austin Butler's voice may be stuck in the fifties but this red carpet wasn't!
Thank you to everyone who joined Back Row’s first live chat Sunday night to discuss the Oscars red carpet! I’ll host another one of those for paid subscribers during the Met Gala red carpet so mark your calendars for the first Monday in May (as if it isn’t already).
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You can tell just how in need of modernization the Oscars have been when the color of the arrivals carpet is a story.
How long has it been that other “red” carpets haven’t been red, even though everyone calls them that anyway? Probably since the mid-2010s when the idea of personal Instagram aesthetics gripped the culture and red carpet event planners realized, hey, photo backdrops kinda matter! The Met Gala had a pink printed carpet in 2016, abandoning red as the de facto choice from then on. The Emmys arrivals carpet was champagne in 2018. The 2022 Tony Awards had a gray carpet. Events that have anything to do with climate change are expected to have green carpets. And on and on.
The Oscars are the second biggest red carpet event of the year after the Met Gala, and this year, organizers hired consultants with Met Gala planning experience, Lisa Love (yes, LC’s Teen Vogue boss on The Hills) and Raúl Àvila. This was part of the eight-part plan to return the Oscars to its former glory. And while the ceremony isn’t quite there yet, the carpet color change was one important detail that helped drag this thing into the year 2023 and give it the energy it’s long needed.
The Oscars arrivals carpet has been red every single year since its first televised ceremony in 1961. Love and Àvila decided to cover it with a tent to make it feel like evening given the black tie dress code seemed mismatched to the 3 pm start time (the Met Gala tents the carpet as well). They realized a dark color didn’t work with the tent. “We chose this beautiful sienna, saffron color that evokes the sunset, because this is the sunset before the golden hour,” Love told the Associated Press.
Love and Àvila did a good job with what I’m guessing their parameters were (would they have chosen to include Oscar statuette iconography on the step-and-repeat if they didn’t have to?). The whole carpet looked cleaner and more thoughtfully art-directed than it did last year. It especially looked better than this year’s tragic Golden Globes step-and-repeat, which is seared into my memory like Anna Wintour saying, when reviewing a layout in 2009 Vogue documentary The September Issue, “It looks like it's for blind people.”
Some accused the new light carpet of appearing “dirty,” but it wasn’t like it looked like someone had driven a tractor over it?? Yes, it’ll show stray threads and marks but talent and their clothes ought to distract from all that.
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