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14 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About Attending The Oscars, From Who's Invited To Rules Everyone Has To Follow

The Academy Awards are this Sunday, which means that Hollywood's biggest and brightest will be converging at the Dolby Theatre to celebrate the past year in film.

A woman fixing Jacob Elordi's tie
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But what are the Oscars actually like to attend? Here are some of the main behind-the-scenes facts about what it's like behind the camera:

1.It's less of an Oscars night and more of an Oscars week. "With in excess of five soirées per day, plus lunches, charity galas, gifting suites, and VIP previews, if you’re in town for the Oscars it’s expected that your schedule is cleared for the Oscars and the Oscars only," Tammy Christina put it to GQ Australia.

Steven Spielberg and Ryan Gosling posing together; Gosling in a light-colored suit, Spielberg in a dark suit

2.The ceremony costs $56.8 million, $24,700 of which is spent on the 50,000-square-foot red carpet — which takes 600 hours to install.

A celebrity waving on the red carpet

3.The average cost of an Oscars look is estimated to be $1.5 million. A 2021 memo given to nominees said, “Formal is totally cool if you want to go there, but casual is really not.” This year, a memo sent to red carpet non-guests said that they should wear "black or dark blue color formal attire" as "to highlight our nominees and guests."

Closeup of Jennifer Lawrence on the red carpet

4.Nominees, presenters, and hosts all receive a pair of tickets and can request another pair. Another significant chunk of tickets go to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members, which is traditionally allocated via a lottery system.

Group of celebrities at an award show; individuals greet each other, some wearing designer gowns and suits
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5.According to the LA Times, "Blocks are also reserved for the show’s broadcast network (ABC), the telecast’s sponsors, production team, accountants, legal team, the media, academy museum donors and various dignitaries, such as [the] Los Angeles mayor." There are also tickets given to the studios, usually allocated via how many nominations they've garnered — though independent studios reportedly often claim that the major studios get priority.

Audience in formal attire watches a person on stage at an awards ceremony

6.That being said, there are seat fillers whose role it is to take people's (e.g. winners) seats when they're otherwise occupied — so that there aren't any empty seats when the camera pans over the crowd. Seat fillers are also used for seats with obstructed views. They have to sign NDAs and are not allowed to talk to the invitees.

Celebs onstage at the Oscars

7.Unsurprisingly, the biggest stars are selected to sit in the front rows. The same thing with nominees for major awards, as to minimize the amount of time it takes to walk to the stage. If you're in one of the seats near the back, it's likely that you'll have to head over to the theatre mid-afternoon. That being said, the other three levels of the theatre do have their own bars and popcorn stands.

Theater seats with reserved signs for celebrities like Nicole Kidman for an awards event
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8.However, food isn't allowed inside the theatre, meaning that any appetizers stop by the time the show has started. This has led to actors like James Hong and Julia Butters sneaking in their own sandwiches, and celebs going feral for Kimmel dropping candy at the 2017 Oscars.

Ellen DeGeneres hands out pizza to audience members at an awards show
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9.Alas, not much seems to happen during the ad breaks of the show — beyond stage hands doing their work and celebrities chatting. It's also when seat fillers are summoned into position. If you need the bathroom, you best be quick about it, as people aren't allowed in and out of the room while the telecast is live.

Leonardo DiCaprio seated, shaking hands with Martin Scorsese who is standing, both in formal suits at an event
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10.The statuettes are made of solid bronze and plated in 24-karat gold. They're 13.5 inches tall and weigh 8.5 pounds, making them surprisingly weighty. The origins of the term "Oscar" are unclear, as the figure is technically called the Academy Award of Merit.

Viola Davis with her Oscar

11.After a win, people are taken backstage to get their statuettes engraved. They're also given a pamphlet on how to take care of their new trophy.

Ke Huy Quan with his Oscar

12.There are gift bags aplenty, such as the Distinctive Assets' “Everybody Wins” gift bag given to all acting and directing nominees. They're valued at $123,000, and 2023's edition included a $40,000 three-night stay at a Canadian estate and a $12,000 arm liposuction procedure.

Sarah Polley celebrating with her Oscar

13.It's probably more likely for you to attend the Oscars than the Vanity Fair afterparty. “As hard as it is to get into the Oscars, it’s much, much harder to get into the Vanity Fair party at the Oscars,” expert Michael Schulman told USA Today. “You pretty much have to show up after the ceremony with an Oscar in your hand, otherwise, it’s, ‘Better luck next time.’"

Michelle Yeoh and Brandan Fraser with their Oscars

14.Finally, the Governors Ball is the official afterparty, which is held in the same building as the main show. There is, thankfully, food. As the New York Times put it last year, "The line for the prime rib was often longer than the one to get Oscar trophies engraved."

Closeup of Julia Roberts and Oprah
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