The 89th Academy Awards are set to begin in just a couple hours, and stars are already stepping gingerly across the red carpet as fans and reporters look on. The red carpet is such an Oscars staple that many likely take it for granted, never wondering, say, where it’s made or how long it takes to set up.
Fortunately, the LA Times has done a bit of digging into these questions and others, producing a surprisingly fascinating guide to the iconic floor covering that’s been the site of countless wardrobe malfunctions and fashion faux pas over the awards show’s long history. Here are some highlights:
1. It’s made in Georgia
Signature Systems Group, the company that has set up the Academy Awards red carpet since 2008, receives the nylon carpet from a textile mill in Dalton, Georgia. The name of the mill, however, is a secret.
2. It’s not actually red
Another secret is the carpet’s true color. Called Academy Red, the hue is reportedly closer to burgundy, but its exact characteristics are a matter of speculation.
3. It totals 50,000 square feet
The massive carpet is delivered in multiple rolls weighing as much as 630 pounds. Setup requires 18 workers and about 900 man-hours.
4. It’s not as old as you might think
The first time stars walked the red carpet in advance of the Academy Awards was in 1961.
5. It has its own security detail
Security for the Oscars is notoriously tight, but not all of those law enforcement officers and bodyguards are there for the stars. A watchful group of protectors guard the carpet itself from possible vandals seeking a souvenir.
6. It’s never reused
Each carpet is unceremoniously destroyed after the awards show ends. How? That happens to be another trade secret.