The 87th Academy Awards promises to be an elegant affair, with glamorous celebrities, fashionable frocks, and priceless jewellery promenading down the large red carpet outside the Dolby Theatre, so why would the winner's names be printed on just any old piece of paper?
This year, the Academy has brought back the designer of the exclusive Oscar envelopes that hold the closely guarded names of the winners of Hollywood's biggest prize.
Designed by Marc Friedland, and first used during the 2011 ceremony, the envelopes are handcrafted from a high-gloss, iridescent metallic gold paper stock, with a red lacquered lining featuring the Oscar statue hand-stamped in satin gold leaf.
"So the envelope design is very well engineered so we have to think about a lot of things going into it. It's how will it look on stage, to the audience and to the viewers at home. It's how easy it is to get the card removed so that there's no fumbling, we have to make it dummy proof. We also wanted to make it beautiful as a keepsake so that somebody can't just roll it up, toss it aside. So that it really has some weight and gravitas to it. It weighs about a quarter of a pound. It's an eighth of an inch thick," said Friedland.
Friedland and his crew work together to create multiple copies of the same envelope to be distributed among investors. Each set is kept in an undisclosed location before their arrival to the Dolby Theatre.
"So this year there's 121 nominees. There's 24 categories but what we do is we make a winner's card for every nominee and we make three sets of them. One set goes to one partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, another goes to the other and then there's one that's kept in a secure undisclosed location. So when the actual accountants bring them to the Academy Awards they take separate routes, they're accompanied by security and it really is to protect the cards themselves. So all in all we do probably 363 winners cards this year and the categories are 24 of them so we would create 72 winners envelopes as well," said Friedland.
The designer says the envelopes are not just functional but they are designed to be keepsakes for the winners.
"So the envelope was designed to be a collector's item, to be a keepsake. It's archival, hopefully it will last for many years to come," said Friedland.
The 87th annual Academy Awards will be handed out in a live ceremony held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday 22 February.