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Everything about the Oscars is decadent and over the top. From the dresses to the gift baskets to the egos, muted and understated are never adjectives the ceremony or any of its attendees actively shoot for. It’s all glorious and over-the-top and apparently, that extends to the envelopes too.
They’ve probably caught your eye before. Back in 2010, designer Marc Friedland convinced the Academy to let him design a new set of winners’ envelopes. They were a hit immediately, so much so that Tom Hanks actually commented on them back when he presented in 2011. Now, more details about the exhausting process that goes into making the keepsakes are starting to emerge, and most of the behind the scenes facts are even more shocking than you might imagine.
According to USA Today, Friedland and his team make three envelopes for each of the categories and three cards for each of the 121 nominees ahead of time. Altogether, it takes about one hundred and ten hours and costs roughly two hundred dollars per envelope. It’s definitely a steep price in both dollars and man hours, but for four ounce visual stunners that come with metallic gold paper, a red satin ribbon, charcoal ink and a seal, they just might be worth the hefty cost.
If nothing else, the Academy Awards are about reminding viewers at home how much fun going to the movies can be. They’re about escapism, about beautiful actresses and dashing actors. They’re about the beautiful things in life, whether the Academy wants to admit that or not, and in that way, these envelopes are absolutely worth the money. They’re just one more brilliant detail that heightens the experience and makes it a bit more fun to tune in at home. That being said, even more people would tune in if the voting members picked less films like The Reader and more films like The Dark Knight, but that’s a conversation that will never go away.
If you’d like to watch a little more about how the envelopes take shape and what exactly the backstory is with the creations, you can check out the short video below that gives you the cliff notes. Or, if you’re just more interested in marveling at their beauty, you can wait until Sunday night when the statues are given away to the lucky winners.