Oscar’s set unveiling reveals Hollywood’s heyday

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The Independent Online

For the second consecutive year, designer David Rockwell has created the Academy Award's set, evoking "classic but modern glamour" for the 82nd Oscars. A model and renditions that reveal the stage's various looks were unveiled February 17 in the lobby of the Kodak Theater, a building that Rockwell also designed.

Crystals, mirrors, lights, and action are the key elements in his design. Inspired by the optimism of Hollywood's heyday in the early 20th century, the "modernist" themed set will be a clean white pristine environment, in direct contrast to last year's raw dark space, which spoke more to the craft of filmmaking.

The Swarovski Crystal Curtain makes an encore this year with its proscenium arch framing the stage in sparkling clear, topaz and smoky brown hues to match Rockwell's overall color scheme of white, platinum, bronze, and gold.

"Otherwise, it's a whole new look," the designer explained. "Inspired by the notion of why we love the movies," the idea of feeling immersed in the films is a critical approach to his design. Light and movement, two basic elements in moviemaking, will produce constant change.

Since the producers, Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic, wanted a quicker pace to emphasize the comedic talents of hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, the sets transform throughout the evening into multiple "locations." On stage, three circular "turntable" platforms revolve around rotating LED-lit panels and curved open screens cast abstract patterns of light.

There's also the ability to project large images against the backdrop, allowing presenters to appear as if they are emerging from the movies. Another element is mirror - clear, smoky, and beveled -presenting reflections that connect the audience and performers. For a more intimate feel and sense of celebration, the designer ripped out orchestra seats to wrap around the stage and reduce the series of long walks.

Rockwell reviewed the history of the Oscars from early days as a party to its community of filmmakers. "It was a thrill," he said, "dreaming up sets that embrace all the reasons we love movies: the glamour, the lights, the colors, the technique, and the emotion."

The Academy Awards is scheduled for March 7, televised live on the ABC Television Network at 5 pm PT/ 8 pm ET and in more than 200 countries worldwide.