America at work
9 Businesses Behind the Academy Awards
Amanda Trcka | February 28, 2016

The Super Bowl is usually recognized as the biggest television event of the year. Yet for many, the most important annual television event won’t air until Sunday, February 22nd, when the Academy Awards are broadcast live from Hollywood.

The Oscars are just as deserving of media hype as the Super Bowl, thanks to the marquee names they attract, and the movies they honor. Though much has been made about the decline in the number of moviegoers over the past year, North American ticket sales still totaled more than $10 billion in 2014, according The Hollywood Reporter.

Many films managed to wow audiences, as well, including the eight nominated for this year’s Best Picture trophy. The group includes “American Sniper,” “The Imitation Game,” “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “Selma,” “Boyhood,” “The Theory of Everything,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Whiplash.” Among this impressive crop, “American Sniper” has had the best luck connecting with both moviegoers and critics, having thus far grossed more than $320 million worldwide during its theatrical run.

But enough about the movies. What does it take to put together the ceremony that honors them every year? Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot. Held since 2001 at Hollywood’s Dolby Theater, the Oscars are made possible each year thanks to the myriad businesses that play a role in planning and executing the film world’s most extravagant night of the year.

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Because we’re big film buffs, and the Oscars are, after all, just around the corner, we’ve created a list highlighting nine companies that make sure the Academy Awards go on as planned, as well as a handful of interesting facts about each of them. They might be behind-the-scenes, but these businesses are responsible for handling incredibly important parts of the show.

1. S. Owens & Company: The Statuette

As iconic as the Academy Awards themselves are the 13.5-inch, 8.5-pound statuettes given to winners every year. R.S. Owens & Company has molded and manufactured those iconic golden statuettes in Chicago since 1982. Founded in 1938, the company now produces all kinds of awards from its 82,000-square-foot facility in the Windy City.

Since the first Oscars, 2,947 statuettes have been manufactured. The 50 statuettes, which were originally designed by Cedric Gibbons, the chief art director at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, take approximately three to four weeks to produce for the big night.

2. Marc Friedland Couture Communications: The Envelope

After the nominees from each category are announced on Oscar night, there’s always a moment of intense quiet as the presenters attempt to rip open the sealed envelopes containing the winner’s name. Marc Friedland Couture Communications makes sure those envelopes look beautiful on television. According to Mashable, each of those envelopes is made by hand and costs a whopping $200 to produce. 

What’s more, it takes 110 hours to create the 4 sets of envelopes for the 24 categories. Each handcrafted envelope weighs four ounces and contains a winner’s card that is 1/8 of an inch thick.

3. Sequoia Productions: Production Planning

There’s a lot of glitz and glam that goes into the Academy Awards, and it’s Sequoia Productions’ job to make sure that it all seems effortless to viewers. Each year, the full service event production company puts on the Governors Ball, the official event after-party where some 1,500 people will mix and mingle with the night’s winners and nominees.

4. Portland Roasting Company: The Coffee

The Academy Awards can run late into the night, and the Portland Roasting Company was selected in 2013 to provide the caffeine jolt that attendees need to make sure they stay awake and enjoy the evening, supplying the coffee sipped by winners, nominees, and VIPs in the green room.

5. Resource One: The Linens

For more than 20 years, Resource One has created high-end textiles for companies and special events. The LA-based business has also been called upon to design and produce the linens used after the Academy Awards at the lavish Governor’s Ball party. According to Fox Business, the price for providing the linens to an event like the Oscars ranges between $50,000 and $75,000.

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6. Wolfgang Puck: The Food

Because no party is complete—or even a party—without the food, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck is called in every year to create and execute a menu of delicious food for the 1,500 people invited to the Governor’s Ball. Developing a menu that accommodates everyone’s palate is no simple task, but Puck has a lot of experience under his belt: He’s been the official caterer of the Governor’s Ball for two decades. Last year’s menu included Oscar- shaped salmon and caviar, mini Kobe beef burgers, and classic favorites such as mini chicken pot pies.

7. Private Chauffeurs: The Transportation

It’s nearly impossible to drive a car yourself when you’re in a ball gown. That’s where the hundreds of chauffeurs come in, whisking the ceremony’s attendees to the Dolby Theater and, from there, the night’s myriad after-parties. In many instances, drivers also double as bodyguards, according to The Los Angeles Times. “You keep the fans at bay from the approaching talent,” Christopher Smith, a chauffeur who’s worked the Academy Awards before, told the Times.

8. Mark’s Garden: The Flowers

Everyone loves flowers, and Mark’s Garden makes sure they’re prominently displayed each year at the Governor’s Ball. The Los Angeles-based business, which has been the exclusive florist of the post-Oscars event for more than two decades, is busy preparing for this year’s iteration of the event, which promises to be even more flower-laden than in the past.

9. PricewaterhouseCoopers: The Ballots

It’s no easy feat tabulating who will win each of the night’s awards, but it’s a job fit for an accounting firm—a fact that makes PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) perfect for the job. A small team of PwC accountants are responsible each year for sorting and tabulating votes from the roughly 6,000 Academy members who vote each year. Though the accounting giant is tight-lipped about how many votes it receives, they have acknowledged that all counting is done by hand, according to Time Magazine. Only two people at PwC tally up the total votes counted and know the winner before the big night.