The Oscars: Lights! Camera! Petrochemicals?

Technology |  2 min. read

Oscar night!  The winners.  The losers.  The mixed-up envelopes.  And – the “what were they wearing” (sometimes accompanied by “what were they thinking!”)?

If you’re an Oscar watcher, you’ve probably got your own list of best- and worst-ever looks.  But to jog your memory, we’ve borrowed a few from each category from Cosmopolitan’s list of “The most memorable Oscar dresses”:

On the “ooh” side of the ledger, you’ll find Audrey Hepburn in white Givenchy (1954); Anne Hathaway in Armani Prive, 2009; and Halle Berry, 2002 in Elie Saab.

Then over on the “urk” side, how about Gwyneth Paltrow, in the see-through top, 2002; or maybe you remember Bjork in 2001, complete with swan; or, umm, Cher, in well, whatever that thing was.  1988 Oscar for Moonstruck, yes.  1988 outfit for the Oscars – no.

But we digress.  Because the point of this story, is that the oohs and the urks (and the in-betweens) on Oscar night, often owe something to petrochemicals.

Synthetic fibers (made using petrochemicals), like polyester and nylon, are used in making all sorts of fabrics – from satin and chiffon, to lace and velvet – and used in dresses that you might find on the rack, on the runway, or on stage at the Oscars.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the folks who produce petrochemicals are responsible for the actual looks that end up at the Academy Awards.  So if you’re thinking back to 1995 for example, and the “famous” dress made from American Express Gold Cards – that was strictly Lizzy Gardiner’s idea (the Oscar-winning costume designer who made and wore that costume.  Even if it’s true that credit cards are also made with – yep, plastic made from petrochemicals).

Dresses aside though — maybe there wouldn’t be any Oscars at all without petrochemicals.  That’s because much of today’s film is made with polyester – and without film, no movies; and without movies, well, no Oscar.

Now if you keep up with the industry, you know that the movies have gone digital.  In fact, in most theaters, you won’t even find film projectors anymore.  But – petrochemicals are at the heart of everything digital too.  That’s a story for another time though.


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