In the Loop: How Sustainable was Award Season? - Riley Studio

In the Loop: How Sustainable was Award Season?

by Riley Studio |

Each year, members of various industries come together to celebrate achievements, but nothing captures the world’s attention quite like the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs and the Oscars. Notoriously extravagant, like many events however, these awards nights result in a colossal amount of waste... that nobody talks about. Lots of it avoidable - particularly on the fashion side of things.

However, this year for the first time we began to see a few sustainability initiatives seeping through, alongside some actors using their voices as mediums for positive change. We’ve highlighted some of the initiatives that were introduced at each event but we would love to hear your ideas about how to make these events more sustainable!

The Golden Globe Awards

The stand out commitment at the Golden Globes was the decision to make the meal a 100% plant-based dinner, which included a golden beet soup and king oyster mushrooms with risotto. Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Lorenzo Soria said: “Over the holidays, we took time to reflect on the last year and began thinking about the new year and the decade ahead. The climate crisis is impossible to ignore and after speaking with our peers, and friends in the community, we felt challenged to do better.” 

The elephant in the room still stands with food waste though. Back in 2018, the chef behind the 73rd edition of the Globes reported that, “you put 1,500 salads out and maybe 700 come back up, and then hardly anybody eats the entrées". So how can we tackle this?  Going plant based is great but food waste is detrimental. 

Alongside this, they pledged to eliminate single-use plastic by partnering with Icelandic Glacial to serve water only from bottles made of glass. A simple switch with a big impact.

In light of the devastating wildfires that were raging through Australia, many attendees, including Cate Blanchett, Ellen DeGeneres, and Pierce Brosnan, used their time on stage to ask their friends and colleagues — and the millions of viewers watching on TV — to donate whatever money they could to the cause. But Joaquin Phoenix was quick to remind the attendees that they also needed to  join him in “making changes and sacrifices in our own lives” — private jets to and from Palm Springs and across the world included. 

Not forgetting the fashion, Joaquin Phoenix joined forces with Stella McCartney to design a custom suit that he would wear for the whole of award season. Phoebe Waller-Bridge on the other hand, announced that she would use her custom black and gold suit to raise money for Australia via an auction. And a favourite of ours, Troian Bellisario re-wore half of her wedding dress!

Despite this, out of all of the celebrities, it was disheartening to see the majority of them turn up in brand new, custom outfits, that will most likely never be worn again. 

The BAFTA Awards

Moving onto the BAFTAs, who also began to advocate for sustainability, organisers accounced this this year’s ceremony was ‘carbon neutral’. In collaboration with London College of Fashion, they published a guide on how to dress more sustainably. They recommended opting for resale, renting, rewearing or supporting a conscious designer. You can read the guide here. But in a similar theme, the vast majority of people chose to ignore their recommendations and wore new outfits. 

Those who did support the shift to sustainability included, The Duchess of Cambridge who re-wore an Alexander McQueen gown that she has worn back in 2012, Saoirse Ronan wore a Gucci gown made from discarded satin and of course Joaquin Phoenix was back in his Stella McCartney suit. 

Additional changes included a ban on single-use plastic, a red carpet made from recycled material and a sustainably sourced meal including a vegan starter and pudding. Alongside this, the traditional goody bags were no more and instead guests were given a ‘gifting wallet’ made from recycled plastic.  

The Oscars 

By the time the Oscars arrived, it seemed that more people got the memo about sustainable fashion! 

Elizabeth Banks re-wore the Badgley Mischka gown she had previously worn to the Vanity Fair Oscars party in 2004, Jane Fonda re-wore a red sequined Elie Saab gown she first wore at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013 and Margot Robbie loaned a beautiful mid-1990s vintage couture Chanel dress. 

Timothée Chalamet wore Prada’s Re-Nylon project, made from ECONYL® regenerated nylon, which is infinitely recyclable and a favourite material of ours. Saoirse Ronan wore a custom Gucci gown that had been repurposed using material from her BAFTAs dress, how brilliant!

Alongside this, Louis Vuitton partnered with the Red Carpet Green Dress (RCGD) organisation for the second year running. Kaitlyn Dever and Léa Seydoux both opted for custom-made sustainable gowns by Louis Vuitton featuring materials such as Tencel Luxe and organic silk. Both the actresses are ambassadors for the RCGD initiative, a women-led initiative devoted to environmental activism. And not forgetting Joaquin Phoenix who stuck to his pledge, wearing the same suit. Joining him in Stella McCartney was Olivia Coleman, whose dress was made from a sustainable velvet material. 

Highlighting its acknowledgment of the current climate crisis, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science released a statement announcing its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.

“The Academy is an organisation of storytellers from around the world, and we owe our global membership a commitment to supporting the planet,” it said. 

“For the past decade, the Academy has been committed to reducing its carbon footprint. For the past seven years, the Oscars show has had a zero-carbon imprint. We continue to expand our sustainability plan with the ultimate goal of becoming carbon neutral.”

While no food is served during the Oscars itself, all the food served prior to the ceremony was entirely plant based. Joaquin Phoenix praised this decision in his acceptance speech stating, “first I would like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press for recognising and acknowledging the link between animal agriculture and climate change, it’s a very bold move, making tonight plant-based,” 


Whilst there is a long way to go, we’re excited to see that big organisations are taking steps towards operating more consciously. Alongside the guests and celebrities, they all hold a significant amount of power, and their influence could help tip the scale in favour of sustainability. Our motto of ‘we all share an equal responsibility to protect and preserve our planet,” needs to be accepted and realised - let’s keep our fingers crossed for some big changes at next year's award season.   


Image Credits

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - FilmMagic

Joaquin Phoenix - AP

Timothée Chalamet

Margot Robbie -

Jane Fonda and Elizabeth Banks -

Saoirse Ronan -