By Kien Lee and Christian Barker
It was in 2017 when Rolex partnered with the film industry’s highest authority, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), becoming the Exclusive Watch of the Academy and Proud Sponsor of the Oscars ceremony and Exclusive Sponsor of the Governors Awards.
In just a short six years, the ceremonies of the Oscars have become inseparable from the watches of Rolex, forming an association par excellence.
Indeed, the coming-together of Rolex and AMPAS is the manifestation and convergence of the values shared by the Swiss manufacture and the motion picture arts, supporting the Academy in its missions to promote excellence in film and preserve its legacy for future generations, and to celebrate cinema’s universal values.
In doing so, Rolex remains true and consistent in its support of exceptional individuals and institutions whether in architecture, cinema, literature and music. Across a variety of disciplines, Rolex maintains ties with artists who combine virtuosity and technical mastery, with goals that include the promotion and celebration of excellence, the perpetuation of knowledge, and the conservation of the art.
Proud Sponsor of the Oscars
2022 marks the sixth consecutive year in which Rolex is a Proud Sponsor of the Oscars ceremony held at the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood’s night of nights.
Broadcasted live on terrestrial and digital channels to more than 200 territories, this annually anticipated event represents more than just the recognition of the industry’s most impressive contributors, for the standards that are set and bars that are raised year after year, would inexorably shape the landscape of cinema worldwide.
The Oscars ceremony celebrates more than just the stars that appear front of screen, but also the production process, the technical expertise and all the other behind-the-scenes work that go into the making of a film.
To borrow a favourite expression of Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, this is an ode to “a work done handsomely”. Cinema is at once an art, a science and an industry, and the Oscars ceremony shines a light on every one of its facets.
Host of the Oscars Greenroom
Before and after the esteemed nominees and presenters step on the Oscars' big stage, they gather in the Greenroom hosted by Rolex who develops an original decor every year for the exclusive lounge that serves as a convivial space for Hollywood's finest.
The theme for the decor in 2022 celebrates the coming-together of cinema and the art of watchmaking. Decorative wall panels in an Art Deco style arrange elements from Rolex watches into mosaics to reproduce the skyline of Los Angeles, home to the filmmaking industry. Several decorative elements symbolizing recognizable landmarks from Hollywood, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, are adorned with some of Rolex’s most distinguishable features and visual signatures from its timepieces: indexes, hands, fluted bezels.
Adding to the ambiance of the room are visuals from the latest Rolex campaign, entitled The Path, a compilation of Oscar-nominated or winning movies that are iconic in Oscars history. Shown for the first time at the Oscars ceremony, The Path is Rolex's tribute to cinematic masterworks and to the values they and the brand share.
Each of these iconic scenes is a freeze-frame that pays tribute to cinema's family"
Arnaud Boetsch, Communication & Image Director at Rolex
Exclusive Sponsor of the Governors Awards
As Exclusive Sponsor of the Academy’s Governors Awards, Rolex helps facilitate these important honours which typically mark the beginning of the Oscars season, celebrating individuals who have made outstanding lifetime contributions to cinema and humanitarianism, over the course of long careers.
The Governors’ Honorary Awards are given for lifetime achievements. They can honour a talent, an outstanding career, or an exceptional contribution to motion picture arts and sciences. Among past winners are icons such as Jean-Luc Godard, Charlie Chaplin, Lauren Bacall, Federico Fellini, Spike Lee, Sidney Poitier and Lalo Schifrin, while the latest honorees were actress Liv Ullmann, screenwriter, filmmaker and actress Elaine May, and actor Samuel L. Jackson.
The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is presented to a person within the film industry who has displayed exemplary commitment to a humanitarian cause. The latest recipient was actor Danny Glover, who has worked tirelessly advocating justice and human rights. Previous winners include Paul Newman, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Geena Davis.
The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award is presented to “creative producers whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production.” It has been bestowed upon legends including Walt Disney, Cecil B. DeMille, Darryl F. Zanuck, David O. Selznick, Alfred Hitchcock and Francis Ford Coppola.
Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative
Established in 2002, the ongoing the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative has paired 58 mentors and protégés duos and eight of them have been in film. The mentors have all received at least one Oscar nomination and they are the likes of Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Spike Lee, Alfonso Cuarón, Stephen Frears, Mira Nair, Zhang Yimou, Walter Murch, and Martin Scorsese.
Mentor Spike Lee and Protégé Kyle Bell
Mentor Zhang Yimou and Protégé Annemarie Jacir
Participating in the program, these cinematic giants welcome rising directors to shadow them on set, sharing the wisdom of their experience and passing down the science and secrets of cinema.
Scorsese has been mentoring young filmmakers since the 1970s. “I guide them as best I can,” he says. “When I see whatever they do, it means something to me, [knowing] I had a little bit to do with that. It keeps me alive creatively.” He explains, “As a mentor, you’re experiencing the art through the student. And somehow that comes back to you... There’s an incredible satisfaction, the fact that you’re able to make someone else flower, in a sense.”
The Film Foundation
Rolex also assists in the perpetuation of the art of cinema through its support of The Film Foundation. This non-profit organisation founded by Rolex Testimonee Martin Scorsese is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. Since its establishment in 1990, it has been responsible for the restoration and conservation of over 900 films. The Film Foundation’s free educational curriculum, The Story of Movies, teaches young people - over 10 million to date - about film language and history.
Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Rolex is also a Founding Supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures that opened in Los Angeles late last year. Spanning 28,000 square metres, this remarkable piece of architecture is a combination of a vast, futuristic concrete and glass sphere designed by Pritzker Prize winner, Renzo Piano, and a 1930s former department store, repurposed to Piano’s specifications.
The task united two of Piano’s great passions, he said. “I grew up and became an architect — an architect jealous of filmmakers,” Piano told an interviewer last year. “I really love cinema,” he said, explaining that it is “one of the few arts that can move you to tears, like music does.”
The museum features 4,500 square metres of gallery space for exhibitions, two theatres, an educational studio and event spaces. Artifacts on display include the shark from Jaws, the toys from Toy Story, and items evoking directors from Alfred Hitchcock to George Lucas.
Credit: JOSHUA WHITE, JW PICTURES/©ACADEMY MUSEUM FOUNDATION
Credit: JOSHUA WHITE, JW PICTURES/©ACADEMY MUSEUM FOUNDATION
On the third floor, the interactive Rolex Gallery showcases Stories of Cinema, a core exhibition that reveals aspects of the filmmaker’s art. Visitors can also view the legendary actor, Paul Newman’s Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona given by his wife Joanne Woodward in 1972, with “Drive carefully me” engraved on the back shortly before he embarked on a career as a racing driver.
Each of these initiatives parallel the brand values Rolex has forged since its foundation, more than a century ago. By helping immortalise the work of cinema’s past greats while ensuring skills are passed down, fostering the next generation of talent, Rolex remains true to its core philosophy of staying perpetual in all its pursuit.