Oscar Governors Ball: John Legend, 1500 Guests and 1000 Pounds of Chocolate

The March 2 Governors Ball will welcome 1,500 guests to a cocktail party atmosphere in “an elegant, park-like setting,” chairman Jeffrey Kurland told Variety at a Thursday morning preview.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released some “fun facts” about the evening that are pretty jaw-dropping: two miles of LED lighting creating “stars” overhead, two full-grown pepper trees, 10,000 blooms from various countries, 1,3000 oysters, 600 lobsters, 1500 potatoes, 7500 pieces of shrimp, 1000 pounds of bittersweet chocolate and 950 staffers.

The event will feature lounge seating, with food on the table as well as hundreds of waiters circulating with trays and food stations scattered around the room. Guests (about half of the 3,000 people who will attend the ceremony) will have lounge seating. Kurland, in his fifth year as chair, said the goal is to create a flow of people to schmooze and move around, because the sit-down atmosphere of some past events was a little confining and stodgy.

Kurland said he and event producer Cheryl Cecchetto began planning in September and “it’s a labor of love.” This marks the 25th year for Cecchetto and her Sequoia Prods. team producing the ball. The open seating and entertainment (which this year is provided by John Legend and Gregg Field leading a band) helps the party atmosphere, Kurland told Variety, “when the ceremony is over and all the anxieties have washed away.” While they have eliminated the formal-dinner aspect, “we’re not cutting back on the food!”

Master chef Wolfgang Puck, in his 20th year with the Governors Ball, chef Matt Bencivenga and their team have created a menu with 50 dishes.

Chef Wolfgang Puck next to a Zoetrope chocolate cake

Smoked salmon ‘Oscar’ matzo hors d'oeuvres

Baked potatoes with caviar and chicken pot pie with black truffles

Miniature Oscar statues coated with 24k gold dust

Baileys will be serving two shots using their new vanilla cinnamon Irish creme: The Glamour Shot and The Lady and Gentleman. The former is rimmed with edible gold flakes.

[The complete Governors Ball menu]
Governors Ball Menu
Menu created by Wolfgang Puck
With Chef Matt Bencivenga

Tray Passed Hors D’Oeuvres
Spicy Tuna Tartare, Sesame Miso Cone
Mini Burgers, Aged Cheddar, Remoulade
Smoked Salmon Oscar® Matzo
Assorted Wolfgang Puck Signature Pizzas (some Vegetarian, Vegan)
Taro Root Taco, Avocado (Vegan)
Vegetable Spring Roll, Chinese Mustard (Vegetarian)
Crispy Lobster Shrimp Dumpling, 5 Spice
Aged Cheddar Grilled Cheese (Vegetarian)
White Bean Quinoa Cake, Roasted Pepper (Vegan)
Bolognese Stuffed Arancini

Sushi & Shellfish Station

Table Platters
Homemade Pretzels, Pimento Cheese (Vegetarian)
5 Year Aged Gouda (Vegetarian)
Chilled Spanish Shrimp
Cauliflowers, Smoked Paprika (Vegan)
Parmesan Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates
Smoked Almonds
Seeded Lavosh

Passed Cold Small Plates
Chopped Vegetable Salad (Vegetarian)
Chinois Chicken Salad
Beets, Goat Cheese, Citrus (Vegetarian)
Butternut Squash, Farro, Wild Rice (Vegan)

Passed Hot Small Plates
Baked Potato with Caviar
Chicken Pot Pie, Black Truffles
Hand Formed Pasta, Roasted Chestnut and Truffles (Vegetarian)
Shanghai Lobster, Jasmine Rice
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Wild Salmon, Ginger & Almonds
Short Rib, Goulash, Spätzle
Wiener Schnitzel, Red Cabbage

Passed Dessert Small Plates
Licorice and Chocolate Parfait, Caramelized Tobacco Leaves (Gluten Free)
Yuzu Semifreddo, Green Tea Meringue and Sake Blueberries
Strawberry Consommé, Angel Food Cake, Olive Oil Sorbet
Carrot Cake, Raisins, Cinnamon Gel (Vegan)
Caramel Garden, Coffee Soil, Chocolate Malted Tree, Fleur de Sel

Chocolate Station
Jars of Candies and Truffles, Rocher, Nougat, Marshmallow
Raspberry Ganache and Lemon Ganache Mini Oscar Lollipops
Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Cheesecake Pops
Warm Cinnamon Pretzels and Homemade Chocolate Spread
Milk Chocolate Crème Brûlée, Spicy Whipped Cream
Citrus Panna Cotta, Funky Chunky Chocolate Pop Corn
Chocolate Cupcake, Almond Cream (Vegan, Gluten Free)
White Chocolate and Lemon Cream Push Up Pops
Assorted Chocolate Barks (Seeds, Nuts, Dried Fruits)

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