AMPAS chooses S. Charles Lee design for Oscar set

posted by Patrick Crowley on February 22, 2006 at 6:02 am

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that this year’s set for the Oscars will be a “no-holds-barred return to classic Hollywood glamour, paying homage to old movie theaters.”

“When designing the Oscars, I try to make the current show as different from the year before as possible,” said Christopher. “Last year’s show was distinguished by a hi-tech, ‘cutting-edge’ style. So this year, there’s nothing hi-tech — it’s a no-holds-barred return to classic Hollywood glamour, paying homage to old movie theaters.”

“I wanted to celebrate the movies and to include great movie houses and screens,” said Cates. “So Roy went back to the classic ornate movie houses for his inspiration, which, I think, is superbly reflected in the final design.”

“I have always loved the movie theaters of the ‘30s, '40s and '50s,” Christopher said. “The man who designed many of them was S. Charles Lee, who was remarkably imaginative and architecturally daring, making movie theaters in styles ranging from the ornate Hollywood baroque to the sleek art-moderne. His spaces were exciting places that upon entering made you feel that something extraordinary was going to happen.”

Comments (8)

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on February 22, 2006 at 6:10 am

IMHO, these sets are generally pretty gaudy, but what a great way to celebrate movie theaters!

Patsy on February 22, 2006 at 7:34 am

I was so glad to see this post and photo on CT today as I saw the set on ET last night and was pleased to see and hear the comments made about the old movie palaces and thus the stage design concept for this year’s Oscars! See you at the Oscars on March 5th.

JimRankin on February 22, 2006 at 8:07 am

I usually avoid the telecast due to length and boredom with it, but with this news, I just may tune in! I recall that back in ‘88 or '89 they had a 'traditional’ draperies decor a la a movie palace and it was quite grand! I wonder if there is anywhere to find images of that year?

JodarMovieFan on February 22, 2006 at 2:36 pm

Gaudy? Its different and not too drab looking. Its too bad I can’t go, I misplaced my, um, passes… ;)

Alto on February 22, 2006 at 5:22 pm

I think last year’s set design concept was, in part an attempt to win back dwindling (i.e. “younger”) audiences who, in this “info-rich, tech-savvy” world (1) have a two-second attention span and (2) would rather go to a website for results instead of sitting through a long “boring” telecast.

That’s why I have reservations about this year’s theme. Yes, it is a great way to celebrate America’s rich cinematic heritage. However, will it attract and hold a younger audience? This has the potential to historically connect and expose recent generations (mine included) to design elements that define the classic movie palace style and capture the essence and glamour that was the “golden age” of Hollywood.

The only question is “will they get it” and if so “will they care?”

Sadly, I think I already know the answer.

GaryParks on March 1, 2006 at 1:52 pm

Finally, a nod to the Skouras style theatres, which, up until about age ten, completely defined the moviegoing experience for me. At that time, I considered that look to be nothing else but Movie Theatre Style. Nice to see it revered in front of contemporary audiences. If only a handful get the significance—so be it. The few who do will make the effort worthwhile.

Patsy on March 4, 2006 at 5:27 am

Well, tomorrow night is the BIG night and it will be interesting to see what film gets Best Picture! And the fashions being worn along the red carpet are always fun to see, too!

Patsy on March 6, 2006 at 12:01 pm

The set was beautiful and using the marquee in the way they did was really special. Abd was glad to see Philip Seymour Hoffman win for his portrayal of Truman Capote in Capote.

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