An Expat Mom on the Move

The Oscars - Behind the Sparkle and Gold

February 26, 2015

The Oscars [Credit: Link]

Last Sunday, February 22nd, was the 87th Annual Academy Awards show.  For my Austrian friends, this is a very big awards show for Hollywood... very big because if an actor wins this award, he or she will forever be introduced as 'The Acadamy Award Winner... so and so'.  This is similar to when once one is the President of the United States, one will always be 'President... so and so'.  Same but different, obviously.

And for my friends back home, I'm sure many of you watched it... or at least read the recaps the following morning.  Who won what award... Who wore which designer... and so on and so forth.

Some people are pretty serious about the show and maybe even hosted their own 'Oscar Party'.  It's like tail-gating at a sports event... only, it's in your living room (and you're dressed better).

[Credit: Link]

People seem to have welcomed this trend - it's officially a thing.  It's a fun way to get together with friends... to drink and be merry... and feel closer to what's happening on the tellie.  Same but different, again.  If you have the time and the energy to do it... I say, have fun with it!! (It's a reason to get dressed up, right!?)

This year, I didn't get to watch the show (being six hours ahead and asleep!).  I did read the recaps.  I did look at some of the ladies fashions.  But, more interesting to me was how Austria was connected to the Oscars.

Did anyone notice the Scarlett Johansson and her green embroidered Swarovski collar? Some were surprised it wasn't emerald... some were excited by her mix and match of high- and not-so-high-end pieces.

Scarlett Johansson @ 2015 Oscar's [Credit: Link]

 At last year's Oscar's,  Cate Blanchett, who won the award for Best Actress for her work in Blue Jasmine, wore Armani Prive - a sleeveless nude gown covered in Swarovski Crystals.

Cate Blanchett @ Oscar's 2014 [Credit:Link]

Besides, the jewels and the sparkle, Swarovski also has a backstage presence to the Oscar's Show going back eight years?!  Take a look at this year's stage for a hint of the Swarovski magic!

The Stage [Credit:Swarovski]

Crazy, right?  This year's production used 95,000 crystals!!!

Early Stages [Credit:Swarovski]

Work in Progress [Credit:Swarovski]

Behind Rita Ora [Credit:Swarovski]

For those of you who don't know Swarovski's history in crystals... read more here.  The founder, Daniel Swarovski, would be excited to know of the world wide presence of his crystal legacy.

So, back to this stage!  The set designer, Derek McLane, is the mastermind behind the last three Oscar stage designs.  What an incredible job to create an atmosphere for events and shows - he has one lengthy resume!  See Derek's collaboration with Swarovski below:

Derek McLane [Credit:Link]

I am most fascinated by the model he created for this year's stage.

The Stage Model [Credit:Link]

Host Neil Patrick Harris in the Model [Credit:Link]

Side View of Model [Credit:Link]

McLane apparently stumbled into set designing as a Harvard undergrad.  I hope to see more of his inspirations and models.  Like this one!


Typically, the show is very long... filled with comedic banter, musical numbers, montages, and applause - and award presentations.  I think most people endure the full length of the show to get to the three main awards of the evening - Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress.


But did you know?  The iridescent, gold paper for the envelopes is made close to my current neck of the woods in Upper Bavaria, in the town of Gmund, near Lake Tegensee.  GMUND Paper is a family-owned fine paper manufacturer founded in 1829.  Their high quality standards, eco-friendly production process, and inventiveness make them one of the most sought-out resources for elegant papers.

GMUND Paper [Credit:Link]

“The paper has a marvellously shimmery gold colour. It looks glamorous and extraordinarily elegant. Touching its surface is a delightful experience. The texture is enthralling and enchanting”, says Marc Friedland in praise of the Gmund Treasury collection.

Oscar envelopes were once frumpy and made in plain, old cream color paper until Friedland redesigned them five years ago.  Finally, the golden statuette had its golden envelope counterpart.

And let's not forget the shiny, little guy - the Oscar!

Making the Cast

Off to the Platers

Golden [Credit:Link]

Here's an inside look at how the statuettes are made in Chicago at R.S. & Co., who has been making them since the 1980's.  Cool, right?

How was the 'golden statue of the Acadamy Awards' nicknamed 'The Oscar'?

And, is this really the mystery model behind the Oscar silhouette?  Oscar's real name is Emilio?

I find things much more interesting if we look behind the curtain and see the history and the efforts to make things look the way they look at the moment we are seeing them.  Sure it's fun to be excited by the exterior bits... but it's way cooler to know the story... and the people... behind the object.

I can't wait to see what the Oscar's stage looks like next year!


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