How Lego Designed Its Own Oscar and Stole the Show

Michael McNally on the night's hottest souvenir

The best thing about the Oscars ceremony last night might very well have been pop band Tegan and Sara's performance of Everything Is Awesome, the least ironic song ever written, from prominent Academy snubee The Lego Movie. (The makers have to console themselves with a $468.1 million box office gross.)

As with everything in the ceremony, the performance was planned scrupulously down to the last 2×8 brick. It wasn't a pure marketing integration, though, according to Lego Systems' senior director, brand relations Michael McNally—it was more about how to keep the whole performance as Lego as possible.

Adweek: How did all this come about?

McNally: Back when the Oscar nominations were revealed several weeks or months ago, obviously we weren't included for best animated film, and it was widely reported as, "Gee, how can that happen?" But then Phil Lord tweeted, "It's okay, I made my own." That image of the statue has been created by Nathan Sawaya, who's a certified Lego builder.

You guys have a certification board?


…Go on…

That got widely reported, that tweet, and about two, two and a half weeks ago I was contacted by someone from the team of Lord and (co-director Chris) Miller to ask how we could make the performance of Everything Is Awesome really fun. We asked ourselves, you know, do we build everything out of Lego? And then we started thinking about props.

Our model shop here built the clarinet and the saxophone and the keytar that you may have seen in the performance. The whole thing was sourced kind of widely, and I think the other thing was just a very happy result of a creative brainstorm and not really anybody's brainchild.

You are the first person in the history of marketing to allow those words to pass your lips.

I wish I could take credit for it! It was part of the brainstorming. It was just us wanting to be part of the performance, rather than wanting to be the next Oscar selfie.

Who got one?

I don't think it was intentional distribution—it was just whoever they saw coming off the stage—Oprah got one, Emma Stone got one, Steve Carell got one, Emma Stone seemed really excited to get one. Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper and Meryl Streep were all in pictures holding them, so I guess it was a hot souvenir.

Can you sell me one? I got snubbed this year, too.

I don't think that we can. It's a trademarked image.

So, because there are fewer of them, this is actually better than a regular Oscar.

I think they're both pretty cool.