on glamour, glitz and gold-plated gents

All that glitters … is to unfold anon on Hollywood’s red carpet.

I’m not into the Academy Awards. For another year, having seen not one of the nominated films (not for a lack of passion for movies but money) dampens the suspense and viewing.

Frankly, I’m more intrigued by the work and humble tasks that go on behind the scenes than the presentation of magic and allure, to be witnessed by millions.

Take the red carpet.

Why red?

So I spent the morning surfing for answers.

Red carpets were traditionally rolled out for leaders and politicians. Its first mention dates to 458 B.C. in Agamemnon by Aeschylus. There’s disagreement among translators on whether the color of the carpet on which Agamemnon entered the palace was purple or red. Some say crimson. For today’s purposes, we’ll settle for red.

The Oscars carpet that’s rolled out along Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Kodak Theater is 500 feet long and 33 feet wide.

According to the Oscars, an abbreviated display took place in 2003 due to the U.S. invasion of Iraq days prior. “The show went on as scheduled, but the red carpet was limited to the area immediately in front of the theater entrance, the red carpet bleachers were eliminated and the majority of the world’s press was disinvited. The next year, the red carpet was back in full force, with all its glamour and sizzle.”

Inquiring minds need to know.

I uncovered nothing, despite a good poke-around, on whether the same carpet’s used each year, where it’s stored, how it’s cleaned, who owns it (I’ll presume the Academy), its original price and current value and cost of insurance.

Inquiring minds are left dissatisfied and frustrated. (Were I a reporter in Hollywood, I’d be digging for answers to these burning questions!)

I did come across these charming facts and figures at the U.K.’s Telegraph. (Considering the source, take it or leave it; interesting nonetheless.)

The price of a guest ticket to the very first ceremony, held in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

The wage (roughly) of an Oscars “seat-filler” – the people who sit in empty seats when stars take a jaunt to the bar so that the auditorium always looks full.

13 inches
The height of the golden Oscar statuette, which weighs 8.5 lbs and costs $500 to make.

The number of seconds each actor’s speech is restricted to, as of 2010.

The number of Oscars won by Walt Disney, making him easily the biggest winner.

The number of press organizations requesting passes this year (283 were granted them).

And for ye fellow foodies:

Culinary staff members who will assist Wolfgang Puck with the creation of his master menu for the post-Oscars Governor’s Ball, along with 900 staff members.

On the menu:

Kumamoto oysters

gallons of homemade cocktail sauce

pounds of winter black truffles

spiny lobsters

individual shrimp

organic heirloom baby vegetables

pounds of edible gold dust

mini chocolate Oscars

While not all can come away with an Oscar, they’ll certainly come away fed like royalty … like Agamemnon, king of Mycenae!


15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kloppenmum
    Feb 27, 2011 @ 19:53:18

    But they’re not royalty, neither have they achieved anything except be over-paid show-ponies. I love the movies, but the fame-game does my head in.


    • allycatadventures
      Feb 27, 2011 @ 20:53:43

      @kloppenmum – While there’s no denying Oscar aspects deserving of snarky commentary, there are film-making achievements and performances worthy of acknowledgment, recognition and celebratory moments in the sun. A forum for that is needed somewhere and while the Academy doesn’t do it flawlessly, it accomplishes it as well as could be expected all things considered, methinks.


  2. kloppenmum
    Feb 27, 2011 @ 21:02:59

    I see your point, and I think there are far more people doing far worthier things in the world who do so with no recognition or awards ceremonies. (I didn’t mean to sound snarky, btw.)


    • allycatadventures
      Feb 27, 2011 @ 21:27:53

      @kloppenmum – To draw comparisons between the awards and the value of moviemaking contributions and anything else, including the world’s unsung heroes, is to venture outside the focus and purpose of this post and invites a separate discussion. Let’s pass. 🙂


  3. kloppenmum
    Feb 27, 2011 @ 21:39:11

    🙂 OK


  4. inaformerlifeanexpat
    Feb 28, 2011 @ 04:35:30

    I lost interest after about 10 minutes of vapid convesation. But am pleased The King’s Speech won. It amazes me a winning moive can be made that does not include a gun, shooting, explosions, gore or bare breasts and butts.


    • allycatadventures
      Feb 28, 2011 @ 12:06:49

      @Expat – lol. Historically, the best-movies list isn’t as breasts- or bullet-ridden as you may think. Million Dollar Baby, Chicago, Crash, A Beautiful Mind, American Beauty, Shakespeare in Love, Titanic, The English Patient, Braveheart, Forrest Gump, Driving Miss Daisy, Rain Man … that’s a good line-up of films light or lacking in violence and nudity.


  5. inaformerlifeanexpat
    Feb 28, 2011 @ 13:47:58

    Errrr Braveheart was lacking in violence?, Forrest Gump as well?


    • allycatadventures
      Feb 28, 2011 @ 14:35:48

      @Expat – I knew you’d say that. It’s not to say that they lacked violence. Life is violent. If making (adult) movies true to life, it’s impossible to entirely circumvent or do without it. Just because a movie has some violent elements does not violent make it. GoodFellas was violent (to a point). A Clockwork Orange. Platoon. Forrest Gump, no.


      • inaformerlifeanexpat
        Mar 01, 2011 @ 04:01:31

        Ah, I see thou hast gone and drunk deeply at The well of Hobbs. I believe that while it isn’t paradise here on earth, there is a spark of goodness, if not humankind would have killed itself off centuries ago.

        Mel Gibson is over-focused on violence. Besides Braveheart, that movie he produced about the Aztecs (?) could have had the gore meter turned waaay down and still been effective.

        Also, as I type, remember The Longest Day, a movie, from another time to be certain, about war and mayhem, without the egregious violence for violence’s sake.


        • allycatadventures
          Mar 01, 2011 @ 12:33:17

          @Expat – “Ah, I see thou hast gone and drunk deeply at The well of Hobbs.” Did you mean Thomas Hobbes? Have neither read nor heard of him until this moment. Why bring Mel Gibson into the discussion of violence and T&A characterizing Academy Award winners. Or The Longest Day, which didn’t win.


          • inaformerlifeanexpat
            Mar 01, 2011 @ 12:39:22

            Yes, I meant Thomas Hobbes who I believe summed life as nasty, brutal and short. Too lazy to Google it, but I think The Longest Day won an award, not for acting but for something else.

            Mel Gibson I cite as an example of modern cinema’s focus on graphic violence for entertainment.


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