Oscars 2016: This is how the 24-karat gold finish statues are made
The Academy announced today that Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry, based in Rock Tavern, New York, will exclusively create its iconic Oscar statuettes, starting with the 88th Academy Awards.
In a process that returns to the Oscar’s fine art roots, the statuettes will now be hand-cast in bronze before receiving its 24-karat gold finish.
"With the help of some 21st century technology, we’re able to honor the Oscar’s proud beginnings," said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.
"The new statuette exemplifies impeccable craftsmanship and the enduring nature of art."
Using a cast bronze Oscar from 1929, Polich Tallix artisans have restored subtle features of George Stanley's original sculpture, which was based on sketches by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons.
The overall size of the statuette remains the same.
"With this project, we've been entrusted with continuing a great tradition," said Dick Polich, Polich Tallix founder and CEO.
"It's a privilege to be able to bring our art experience and technical expertise to the Oscar."
Polich Tallix started its Oscar-making process by creating digital scans of the 1929 statuette and a modern-era pedestal base. The digital Oscar was then 3D-printed and molded so the form could be cast in wax.
Each wax statuette is coated in a ceramic shell that is cured and fired at 1,600°F, melting the wax away and leaving an empty Oscar-shaped form. The statuettes are then cast in liquid bronze at more than 1,800°F, cooled, and sanded to a mirror polish finish.
The figure portion of each Oscar is electroplated with a permanent layer of reflective 24-karat gold by Epner Technology, a renowned high-tech specification electroplating company in Brooklyn.
The statuette's bronze base receives a smooth black patina, which is hand-buffed to a satin finish.
The time required to produce 50 statuettes in this manner is about three months.
At a height of 13.5 inches and weight of 8.5 pounds, the new Oscar retains the basic physical characteristics of its immediate predecessor, which had been made by Chicago-based R.S. Owens & Company since 1982.
The Academy will continue its long relationship with R.S. Owens to service existing statuettes and create other awards for the Academy, including plaques for its annual Scientific and Technical Awards.
Polich Tallix, founded by Polich in 1972, combines advanced technology with world-class craftsmanship as it strives to create works of art that preserve each artist’s unique purpose and vision.
The 88th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 28, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
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