By Irene Lacher Posted January 26, 2009, 12:20 PM EST
The stars of the 15th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards show Sunday were, well, the stars, so the design of the awards dinner at the Shrine Auditorium was all about showing off hundreds of them to best effect on camera. That task fell to the team of awards art director Keith Greco of Greco Decor and awards event supervisor Andrea Wyn Schall of A Wynning Event—SAG show regulars who worked with Benn Fleishman, the returning SAG executive in charge of production.
“Our theme is simple, glamorous, elegant, high style,” Schall said. “One thing that's really different about this show is that it's about the actor, so the table is to reflect the actor and make it so that whatever they're wearing will stand out more. The table is secondary. You just see black and silver, neutral, understated.”
To complement the black-tie crowd of 1,200 actors, agents, directors, and producers, the tables—some as long as 20 feet—were draped in 800 yards of black poly silk topped with gunmetal crushed silk runners, Coupe black china chargers, custom-made black-and-silver napkins, and 350 white floral arrangements of phaeleanopsis orchids, miniature calla lilies, Ecuadorian roses, and chartreuse hydrangea.
The other primary color for the evening was green, although it may not have been visible to the cameras. This year, SAG teamed up with the Environmental Media Association to make the production eco-friendly, so most elements used were recycled or about to be. Food and flowers were earmarked for composting; the black underlay on the tables had returned for its fourth encore; the runners were custom made with a black underside to expand the possibilities for reuse; and only the bottom tier of the 20,000-square-foot space sported new black carpet for the cameras. The upper tier, populated by non-actors who wouldn't be on camera, was covered in carpet from last year's show. Also back for a return appearance was the stage, which was only slightly altered by set designer Joe Stewart, who added rope lights, creating a sunburst of rays, to the fluted columns flanking the central LED screen. Only eco-friendly, water-based paint was used, which, Stewart noted, has been standard practice in the television industry for a decade.
During commercial breaks (actors typically avoid eating while they're being photographed), guests sipped Dry Creek Vineyard wines, Taittinger champagne, and Voss water and dined on a locally sourced antipasto plate designed by chef Alan Jackson to accommodate every kind of diet. The offerings included a Dungeness crab and grapefruit salad with sriaracha citrus emulsion; sugar-cane lacquered chicken with crispy corn grits cake, seckle pear, and ginger; short rib and sweet corn flan with wild mushroom ragout; and heirloom tomato and burrata salad with basil oil, balsamic, and Parmesan.
Presenters also snacked in the green room, which Greco furnished with pieces recycled from past movie premieres—dark gray velvet tufted sofas, light gray denim club chairs with brass tacks, and resin stag-horn lamps from the recent Valkyrie premiere in New York, as well as mirrored coffee tables from a long-ago fete for Marie Antoinette. Popping against those muted colors were red, purple, and coral arrangements of roses, hydrangeas, and orchids designed by Christopher Matsumoto, who also provided the white flowers for the dinner.
Schall and Greco also collaborated on the Taittinger Champagne Moment hosted by William Shatner, which featured a champagne-flute fountain and a toast to kick off the red carpet. The show was broadcast on TBS and TNT.