The 2020 Oscars Greenroom Warns of the Fragility of the Arctic

Step through a nondescript door just opposite stage right in Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, and you’ll find yourself in an ethereal, wood-paneled lounge evoking an arctic observatory. No, it’s not a set for Frozen 3, but an equally enchanted polar landscape where presenters, nominees, and performers at the 92nd Academy Awards can relax and grab a drink during the show.  

An oversize replica of an Oscar welcomes guests into the 2020 Oscars Greenroom.

Just inside what may be the world’s most glamorous observatory—real or imagined—an oversize replica of an Oscar statuette stands guard. From there you can take a seat at the bar, where presenters like Tom Hanks, Spike Lee, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Keanu Reeves can take a shot of liquid courage and rub shoulders with nominees like Brad Pitt, Martin Scorsese, Renee Zellweger, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Grammy-winning singer Billie Eilish. There are stools and chairs covered in ivory velvet, a comfortable sectional, and a generous sprinkling of cocktail tables, along with five screens live-streaming the telecast to ensure that nobody misses a moment of the show.

Wood beams converge at what’s meant to be the North Pole, while “windows” look out to a frozen landscape.

The 2020 Greenroom comes courtesy of Swiss watchmaker Rolex, which has been an Oscars sponsor since 2017 and is a founding supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The firm’s Geneva-based design team has been conjuring up singular settings for Hollywood’s biggest night since 2016. This year’s theme is all about preserving and appreciating the beauty and vulnerability of one of the earth’s most extreme environments.

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Inspired by Rolex’s iconic Explorer model, which debuted in 1953, a cocktail table displays an Explorer II watch.

Specially designed lighting gives the illusion that you’re looking through “windows” onto a frozen landscape that shifts in color and brightness to simulate the passage of time from sunrise to sunset. Doubling as meridian lines, the ceiling beams overhead converge onto a point representing the North Pole, below which is a Rolex Explorer II watch. (The brand’s original Explorer model debuted in 1953 on the heels of the first successful ascent of Mount Everest.) 

A lounge offers comfortable seating as well as screens that will live-stream the telecast.

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