Five Minutes with Oscars Envelope Designer Marc Friedland

Marc Friedman and the Oscar winners envelope (Photo: Marc Friedland/Creative Intelligence, Inc./LA-NY)

Every year, during the Academy Awards, the world holds its breath as each Oscars presenter tears open that famous gold envelope to reveal the newest recipient of a little golden man.

And the living, breathing man behind the Oscar winners’ envelopes is designer Marc Friedman. I caught up with Marc at the Governors Ball preview event earlier today to get an inside scoop on the world’s most famous stationary. And, trust me, it’s far more interesting than you’d expect.

David Onda: How many years have you been creating the winners envelopes for the Oscars?

Marc Friedland: This is the third year that we’ve done the envelopes and it’s on its way to becoming the most famous envelope in the world, I believe. It’s seen by billions around the world. But, really, if you think about, only touched by 24 presenters and 24 Oscar recipients.

Onda: How do you change the envelope each year, how do you make it special?

Friedland: The envelope itself was designed to be special, regardless of how many times we do it. And like the statue, which never changes, we approach the envelope the same way, because we feel that that moment, that pin-dropping moment of when people get announced, is the same today as it was 85 years ago [and] as it will be 50 years from now. So, we really want to capture the austerity of that moment and make it momentous, so that’s why we keep the envelope the same design.

Onda: Is it made of any special material?

Friedland: It has this really beautiful metallic gold finish. You can see the little watermark of the Oscars on there. That protects it from forgery. There’s the PricewaterhouseCoopers seal – they’re the ones who tabulate who the winners are. The winners card itself is this very beautiful thick card. It’s frame-able and it’s a keepsake and it really helps mark that moment of a lifetime for the winner.

Onda: Obviously you create these cards, so at what point do you find out who the winners are?

Friedland: We don’t find out. Ask me on February 25th and I’ll tell you. [laughs] We do one for every nominee. The accounting firm destroys the ones that don’t get picked, because we don’t want them winding up on eBay or profiting from it, because they are collectors’ items.

Onda: You do much more than just the winners’ envelopes, correct?

Friedland: We’ve done all the Oscar Season invitations – for every Oscar event, there’s an official invitation as well, also inspired by the winners envelope. So, these go to all the Academy members.

Onda: And how about those of us who want a taste of Oscar glamour at home?

Friedland: Online, what we have is my collection called “The Oscar Collection by Marc Friedland,” which is available exclusively on People can use these to have their own Oscar parties. They’re available at no charge, they are the only Academy sanctioned invitations that can use the statue. And we have some really fun designs, whether you want old Hollywood or something really hip and cool, and it’s really just a way to get people to celebrate and come together and take part in what’s going on in Hollywood wherever they are in the world.

Marc's Oscar Season invitations (Photo: Marc Friedland/Creative Intelligence, Inc./LA-NY)

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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