- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 5, 2013

LOS ANGELES (AP) - When Oscar nominees such as Steven Spielberg, Hugh Jackman and Helen Hunt want to take a break backstage during the Academy Awards show, they’ll step back in time.

Their off-camera Oscar hangout, the Architectural Digest Greenroom, was inspired by art director Cedric Gibbons, who won 11 Academy Awards and was nominated another 28 times for his work on classic films including “The Wizard of Oz,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Annie Get Your Gun.” He even designed the Oscar statuette.

“He really created, almost singlehandedly, the look of the Hollywood films of the 1930s and `40s,” said Madeline Stuart, designer of this year’s Oscar green room. “His body of work is so impressive, and as a designer who prides herself on being able to work in so many different architectural styles, he’s my idol because he, in order to create the sets and the environments and the worlds of these different films, had to be conversant in all these different (aesthetic) languages.”

Stuart’s green room will boast a sunny palette, spare decor, black lacquer floors and the upholstered banquettes Gibbons favored.

“This is not a room for flip-flops,” Stuart said. “This is a room that conveys the high style and sophisticated glamor of the 1930s and `40s, and how fabulous that the people who are spending time in the room that night will have dressed the part.”

Stuart typically decorates and remodels the high-end homes of entertainers and business leaders. The Oscar backstage retreat is her most transient project yet: The entire room is being built off-site and will be moved into the backstage area of the Dolby Theatre a few days before the Academy Awards. And it’ll be gone just as quickly.

“This is like a military maneuver and everything is plotted and planned to within an inch of its life,” Stuart said, adding that the green room closes after the Oscar show, and two days later, “they come and my little world is broken down and carted away.”

Still, she’s honored to create a space for stars to steal away during one of Hollywood’s biggest nights and pay homage to one of the industry’s most legendary art directors.

But can her green room quell celebrity nerves?

“There’s nothing we can do in this room that can make them feel calm and relaxed,” she said, “but we do want to make them feel comfortable and provide a respite from the madness that must be going on backstage.”


AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APSandy.




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