For many cinephiles, Taxi Driver (1976), The Deer Hunter (1978), and Raging Bull (1980) represent some of Hollywood’s most influential works of the 20th century.
But besides breaking cinematic ground with powerful filmmaking and intimate character studies, these pictures feature Rolex watches that enrich the identity of the characters who wear them with their powerful symbolism.
That they should appear in so many films is no coincidence. When a character wears a Rolex watch, this is an artistic choice made by both the actors and directors. It’s a visual legacy that signals the Swiss watchmaker’s support of the cinematic arts.
Over the decades, Rolex has maintained a close relationship with two of the greatest living filmmakers of our time: Martin Scorsese and James Cameron. They have continuously embraced their roles as Rolex Testimonees, leading the charge in the Rolex Mentor and Protege Arts Initiative, which pairs young artists with masters in their discipline and initiates creative collaborations.
Rolex is also the founding supporter of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, which opened in September last year. The Renzo Piano-designed building – which houses exhibits honouring the most significant moments in cinematic history – will provide an important source of inspiration for future generations of filmmakers.
Rolex mentor and protégé arts initiative
The brand has established an “artistic mentoring” programme, which gives promising young artists access to the guidance and expertise of the world’s most acclaimed artists. With Rolex’s support, the initiative has, over the span of two years, developed creative collaborations that often outlast the duration of the programme. Since 2002, eight of the 58 Mentor and Protege duos have been in film. Each protege is a young talent whose work has been scouted widely, from festivals to the Oscars® shortlist, while the mentors have all received at least one Oscar® nomination. They are Mira Nair, Stephen Frears, Martin Scorsese, Walter Murch, Zhang Yimou, Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro G. Inarritu, and Spike Lee.
Movies touch our hearts, and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places. They open doors and minds.– Martin Scorsese, Filmmaker
Their mark on the Oscars® ceremony
For the sixth consecutive year, Rolex is the Proud Sponsor of the Oscars® ceremony, including this year’s edition, held at the Dolby Theatre in LA in March. The prestigious ceremony is a celebration of cinema’s excellence, inspiration and technical genius, and is telecast live to more than 200 territories worldwide. Without a doubt, the Oscars® is one of the most highly regarded events in the entertainment industry.
Their presence in the Oscars® greenroom
As the official host of the Greenroom, the antechamber of the Oscars®, Rolex aims to create a unique and immersive experience each year. This year, the convivial space where nominees and presenters gather before and after stepping on the Oscars® stage features a theme that revolves around the coming together of cinema and the art of watchmaking. The wall panels are decorated in an Art Deco-inspired style that evokes the iconic skyline of Hollywood, comprising Rolex’s most distinguishable features and visual signatures of indexes, hands and fluted bezels.
The Governor Awards Ceremony
Honouring and recognising the remarkable achievements in the film industry, The Governors Awards marks the beginning of the Oscars® season each year. There are three awards: First, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is presented to an outstanding individual who has set an example through their work in support of a humanitarian cause – past winners include Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Next, the Honorary Awards is a lifetime achievement recognition that celebrates one’s remarkable talents, outstanding career, human and artistic qualities, or exceptional contributions to the world of motion pictures, arts and sciences. Illustrious recipients have included Charlie Chaplin, Federico Fellini, Sophia Loren and Lauren Bacall. Finally, the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award is periodically presented to creative producers whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion pictures production.