People Can’t Stop Talking About the Oscars Carpet. Here’s Why.

95th academy awards deadline room
Inside the Oscar’s Champagne Carpet ControversyDania Maxwell - Getty Images

For all its predictability, it seems that some years in the entertainment industry’s biggest awards show, anything could happen—whether it’s onstage mishaps, fashion faux pas, or an all-out face smack. But the talk of the town this year is the creative (or not so creative) choice to break from the red carpet tradition and roll out a champagne-colored carpet.

“I think the decision to go with a champagne carpet over a red carpet shows how confident we are that no blood will be shed,” joked Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the 95th Oscars ceremony on Sunday, in reference to the Slap.

95th academy awards deadline room
Michelle Yeoh joins Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Jonathan Wang, Daniel Kwan, and Daniel Scheinert in the Photo Room at the 95th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre.Dania Maxwell - Getty Images

The 50,000-square-foot, distinctly pale beige carpet was unspooled outside the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. It’s the first time that the ubiquitous red carpet has not been red since 1961 (when there was first a red carpet), and it might be the last. Before the talent had even arrived, news crews and publicists surveying the area had already muddied the carpet. While a red carpet may have toned down the inevitable carpet detritus, every speck of dirt was on full view across this beige expanse. Behind the scenes, this year’s Oscars squad could be seen recutting and replacing dirtied patches of the carpet, Variety reported. A legion of armchair pundits had a thing or two to say on Twitter about the Academy’s new look.

“They look like they’re attending a corporate banquet at the airport Hilton,” one spectator remarked. An Entertainment Weekly reporter noted that the rug was as ugly in person as it is on-screen. “If I viewed an apartment with this carpet, I would seriously consider not renting it,” she added.

A third agreed: “I hope they have a team of people with Rainbow vacuum cleaners following everyone down that.” Some were in an all-out rage: “WTF is that champagne carpet?!?! No!!!! It looks horrible!!!” another tweeted.

Meanwhile, Oscar nominees who didn’t find out about the color change until the carpet was unfurled last week, donned beige outfits that rendered them nearly invisible in a bizarre neutral-on-neutral color wash.

“Apparently, at the Academy Oscars, their carpet is going to match my drapes,” mused Jamie Lee Curtis on Twitter. The star, who took home the award for Best Supporting Actress for Everything Everywhere All at Once arrived in a full-length, long-sleeve, sequined Dolce & Gabbana gown that perfectly blended into the creamy flooring.

The decision to change the color came from creative consultants Lisa Love, a longtime Vogue contributor, and Raúl Àvila, the Met Gala creative director, who played with several color options but felt that all clashed with the orange covered tent, which was erected over the carpet to protect attendees from the sun and potential rain, a deviation from the award show’s typical open-air situation. So they went lighter.

Steve Olive, president of Event Carpet Pros, received an order for the carpet about 45 days before the show, according to the New York Times. The company has manufactured the carpet for the Oscars for more than 20 years, as well as events on both coasts like the Golden Globes, the Emmy Awards, the Grammy Awards, and thousands of movie premieres. Olive sent a three-week rush order to the manufacturer in Dalton, Georgia, which was then trucked across the country to Los Angeles. After the event, the polyester-based, sisal-style rug made from recycled materials will be recycled for a second life—but likely not a second Academy Awards.

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