Makeover alert! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to try something new ahead of the 95th Oscars on Sunday, March 12.
Photographers and onlookers were shocked when handlers rolled out a neutral carpet outside of the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles where the show will take place. The beige walkway will replace the traditional red overlay that the ceremony has been known for.
Jimmy Kimmel, who is hosting the 2023 soirée, was on site to introduce the big change, which he dubbed a “champagne carpet.”
“I’m thrilled, I’m honored, I’m excited, mostly about the carpet. I mean, this carpet is so beautiful. It’s a remnant. We got it for a very good price downtown,” the TV personality, 55, told reporters on Wednesday, March 8.
Kimmel continued his speech with a reference to Will Smith storming the 2022 Oscars stage and slapping Chris Rock across the face over a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. “People have been asking if there’s going to be any trouble this year, is there going to be any violence? I certainly hope not,” he said. “But if there is, I think the decision to go with a champagne carpet rather than a red carpet shows how confident we are that no blood will be shed.”
The decision to go with a new carpet color came as Academy CEO Bill Kramer wanted to “reimagine” the Oscars, per The Hollywood Reporter. To do this, the company tapped red carpet creative consultant Lisa Love and Met Gala creative director Raúl Àvila, who were responsible for coming up with a fresh look.
Love and Àvila were tasked with finding a way to “turn this event from a day event into the night,” the experts told THR in an interview published on Friday, March 10. “That’s always been something that the Oscars has had a problem with ever since it’s started because it begins so early in the day with the sunshine and the heat, but everybody’s dressed up for a night event and they are there at 4 o’clock,” Love explained.
After coming up with five new shades, Love and Àvila settled on champagne. “We had to first come up with the tent and what color that would be,” Love told THR.
“In order to block the light that had to be a darker color. You’ve seen it as a Sienna or saffron-colored Sienna, which connotes the color of sunset. Where do you see the sunset best? From sandy beaches with a glass of Champagne in your hand. This is about getting ready for the golden hour that follows the show,” she added.
The Oscars carpet has been red since the 33rd event in 1961.
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The Oscars air on ABC Sunday, March 12, at 8 p.m. ET.