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Upon surveying available props, Chase and Lauter settled on a boutique hotel theme, transforming the theater’s courtyard into an area Lauter likened to a poolside lounge. Guests passed cabanas and fountains located by a step and repeat, before walking through two hedges into the courtyard, where another cabana served as a bar. Clusters of chandeliers hung from five arches that Lauter had covered with wardrobe mirrors. In a budget-saving move, Chase had pulled the Academy-owned chandeliers, which had been purchased for a previous Governors Ball, from storage. Although severed cords made the chandeliers non-functional, Lauter’s use of different colored lighting to illuminate each group made it hard for guests to notice.
The team attempted to make the transition from the courtyard to the lobby seamless by re-carpeting the interior with the same gray carpet used to cover the courtyard. The weather played a big part in determining to use the outdoor and indoor space for the cocktail portion of the evening. Chase had originally planned on solely using a tented outdoor area, but changed her mind when the academy moved the award show date from September to August, when temperatures are typically high. In what was a particularly warm night, guests had the option of bearing the heat outdoors or escaping into the air-conditioned lobby.
A brief presentation inside the theater hosted by actor Ty Burrell included a montage of clips from nominated writers’ work, as well as the presentation of certificates acknowledging writers’ nominations. Following the presentation, guests—some with certificates in hand—sipped additional cocktails until 10 p.m.