The cameras may focus on what celebrities are wearing on the red carpet at the Oscars, but inside the show, someone’s responsible for making the venue itself look like a million bucks.
Enter Derek McLane, the set designer that’s been tapped to transform Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre into a dreamy movie set for all the nominated stars, their guests, and host Jimmy Kimmel. For the sixth year in a row, organizers of the Academy Awards tapped McLane to make this magic happen with the help of Swarovski, the brand that has lit up the Oscars stage for the past 11 years. Curious to see what all 45 million crystals used look like together? Check out this exclusive rendering below.
McLane placed a lot of emphasis on the new proscenium—the upper, arched structure surrounding the stage—that indeed features more than 45 million crystals mixed in with octagonal tiles, metal, and mirrored materials. 32 people were needed to bring this piece to life, which weighs 15,500 pounds and took over 3,250 hours to complete. Together, the crystals of the structure cover roughly 1,750-square-feet of space, which is epic.
“I started the design for this year’s Oscars with a bold new proscenium, inspired by an image I had seen of fragmented mirror. The shapes felt almost natural, like the inside of a geode. That became the kicking off point for a whole bunch of other elements, all playing with reflectivity and sources of light. There are elements that are very modern and others that suggest Hollywood regency. But their reflectivity is what ties them together,” McLane tells InStyle of the inspiration.
In addition, he also worked with Swarovski to dress the stage with curtains that feature over 80,000 crystals, opera boxes that’ll have over 23,000 stones, and floating Oscars that have over 140,000 crystals (below). That’s a lot of bling.
What’s cool about this whole thing is that Swarovski has helped deliver Hollywood magic for years. Their crystals made a film debut in Blonde Venus featuring Marlene Dietrich, and have since been included in Beauty and the Beast, The Wizard of Oz, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.