Opulence Reigns

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Inside the Academy Awards Governors Ball
February 18, 2013

A pre-Oscar reveal party held in January, well before the upcoming February 24 telecast, gave guests some hints as to what will be awaiting the stars at this year’s Governors Ball, which immediately follows the telecast of the 85th Academy Awards ceremony at the Ray Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.

The watchwords: modern and sexy silhouettes, a looser, “loungier” dining format and unabashed opulence.

This year marks the 24th consecutive year that Cheryl Cecchetto, owner of Sequoia Productions, has produced the Governors Ball. For the past four years she has worked with Academy governor Jeffrey Kurland to create, produce and oversee décor, menu, entertainment and food and beverage. Last year, the two infused the event with new energy with a lounge format. This year they will perfect it even further.

Comprised of 423 furniture pieces from Lux Lounge EFR artfully set under a 120-foot custom chandelier with 1.78 million beads, 100 suspension points, and 18,000 LED points that shift in color, the lounge format will allow the audience of 1,500 to engage in the world-class kibitzing it so loves after the awards. Although the casual setting creates new challenges on the food and beverage side, with more than 50 dishes which are mostly tray-passed as small plates, there is a 350-member culinary staff to attend to the crowd’s every need.

Luckily there is a pro in the kitchen. For his 19th year in a row, master chef Wolfgang Puck with Chef Matt Bencivenga, will once again provide a menu of favorite Oscar items such as Oscar shaped flat bread with smoked salmon and caviar and chicken pot pie with black truffles. This year will also see many more vegan dishes and more sustainable and organic ingredients than ever before.

Cocktail platters will include Truffle and Parmesan Grissini, Winter Fruit Caprese, Bacon Wrapped Dates and Rosemary Spiced Nuts and Pineapple. Tables will be set with a jewel-toned or metallic NuSilk linen from Resource One.

Oh yes. That color palette? You might have guessed already, but we’ll confirm: Hollywood will be feted in an environment dripping in luxurious tones of aubergine, chartreuse and champagne. The centerpiece of the room will be an 18-foot Oscar and the floral, provided by Mark’s Gardens will be “modern and super sexy,” says owner Mark Held.

Tabletops will feature a variety of orchids popping with color situated next to muted succulents. Held will use a mix of purple calla lilies, bunches of kale, artichokes and fern shoots. Low arrangements will be accented with green anthurium and black ti leaves, some of which will be formed around small cabaret lamps for low lighting. Stand up cocktail tables will feature flowers that appear to grow out of the table’s pedestal.

But before any of this modern, sexy design is seen; before any morsel of black truffle is consumed, may I have the … invitation and printed pieces, please. When Meryl Streep reads off “the winner is” she will be ripping into an envelope designed by Marc Friedland, creative director of Marc Friedland Couture Communications, who has designed the winners’ envelopes for the past three years. He also will have designed the invitations for all 2013 Oscar events. And viewers at home will have gathered together thanks to his new digital collection of the only Academy-sanctioned invitation for Oscar viewing parties available only through Evite Postmark.

Like the Oscar winners who will take the stage, you now have your own cheat sheet of who to thank as you find opulence, aubergine and champagne on your inspiration boards this year.

eNews March 2013

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