Oscars 2023: Red Carpet No Longer Red–Champagne

Red Carpet Isn’t Actually Red

Per Academy researchers, the carpet has been some shade of the primary color since the 33rd awards in 1960 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences rolled out the Oscars carpet on Wednesday during event that hosted media, crew, show insiders.

Returning for his 3rd outing as host, Jimmy Kimmel made jokes upon seeing that the red carpet isn’t actually red.

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“I’m thrilled, I’m honored, I’m excited, mostly about the carpet. This carpet is so beautiful. It’s a remnant, we got it for very good price downtown,” quipped Kimmel of the carpet that measures 900 linear feet.

“People have been asking if there’s going to be any trouble this year, is there going to be violence? I certainly hope not. But if there is, I think the decision to go with a champagne carpet rather than red carpet shows how confident we are that no blood will be shed.”

Ariana DeBose, Brendan Fraser and Jerrod Carmichael
Oscar Statuette

The decision to break with tradition for Hollywood’s most iconic red carpet had to do with mixing up tradition and figuring out how to transition from daytime arrivals to elegant evening setting, per red carpet creative consultant Lisa Love.

It’s a big change as far as carpet colors go. The carpet has been some shade of red since the 33rd telecast in 1960 when red carpet was first used at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

Veteran Met Gala creative director Raúl Àvila joins Love as creative consultant, charged with reimagining the Oscars’ “red carpet aesthetic and guest experience,” per the Academy.

Love, who served as West Coast editor of Vogue for nearly 30 years, and Àvila are making their Oscars debut working alongside Samer Jannen, Àvila’s design team partner, after having led the creative team for the 2021 and 2022 Academy Museum galas.

Love talks about the direction they received from Academy CEO Bill Kramer, how many shades of champagne were considered and where she will be during the telecast.

Jimmy Kimmel Carpet Rollout
A look at the 2023 Oscars’ champagne-colored carpet for this year’s arrivals. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Being “red carpet creative consultants,” responsible for reimagining the aesthetic and guest experience?

Bill Kramer gave us a lot of freedom. He basically said that we need to turn this event from day event into the night. That’s always been something that the Oscars has had a problem with ever since it’s started because it begins so early in the day with the sunshine and the heat, but everybody’s dressed up for a night event and they are there at 4 o’clock. This is my first year at the Oscars. I’ve never been to the Oscars before so this is a new beginning.

It’s been so much fun. I love new challenges. I love the idea of trying to create a change from day into night, and that was really the focus. Sometimes it’s hard to make changes, but everybody is willing to attempt that this year.

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Red carpet color switching to champagne?

We had to first come up with the tent and its color. In order to block the light that had to be darker color. You’ve seen it as a sienna or saffron-colored sienna which connotes the color of sunset. Where do you see the sunset best? From the sandy beaches with glass of champagne in your hand. This is about getting ready for the golden hour that follows the show.

Process of design approved?

The design gets submitted and either gets approved or changes can be made.  There are many different elements to consider from fire marshals and police, old ways and new ways, sponsor ways. It goes through conversation. Some people have been doing this for years and it’s amazing how incredibly helpful they are because we are just newbies here.

We pored over around five shades of carpet. There are a couple of shades on the carpet before you get into the actual carpet where the photos are taken. It starts off darker and then gets lighter as you get through to the final tent.

Other changes to the aesthetic?

We just did the carpet this year, and we’re going slowly. It’s the first year we’ve been there: Raul, Samer and I. We will be on the carpet to see how it worked. There will be other changes but those will be surprise.

Everyone should wear black-tie with black or dark-colored suiting and dresses

The black-tie experience actually is for everyone. The experience of being at one of the most glamorous events in the world is that everybody should also be part of the story. Everybody on the carpet, a guest, a presenter, a nominee, a host, if they’re working, should experience the elegance of the evening in that they’re part of the show.

I will also be in black and wearing what my team is wearing.

Lisa Love
Lisa Love at W’s recent soiree at the Chateau Marmont PRESLEY ANN/GETTY IMAGES

Most challenging thing about working for first time on the Oscars?

Jimmy Kimmel Carpet Rollout
A look at the 2023 Oscars champagne-colored carpet ROBERT GAUTHIER/LOS ANGELES TIMES VIA GETTY IMAGES