Oscar magic brewing in gritty Chicago factory
Oscar magic is brewing in a gritty Chicago factory where the statues soon to be hoisted in victory by the stars of the silver screen are born in a bubbling vat of britannia.
The pewter-like alloy is poured slowly into a mold and cools quickly. But it takes 40 hours of precise and delicate work before Oscar is ready for the bright lights of Hollywood.
The heart of the trophy – with its iconic square jaw, broad chest and sword – is swiftly hammered out in preparation for careful polishing.
Once every blemish is erased and Oscar shines like a mirror, the statue is hand-dipped in electrically-charged tubs of molten copper, nickel, silver and 24-carat gold.
Then it’s on to more polishing and a blinding lacquer before Oscar is finally screwed into his heavy base and carefully boxed using white gloves.
Hand-casting is a dying art, but one the Academy is willing to pay dearly for as it jealously guards the reputation of one of the most sought-after and recognized trophies in the world.
The perils of seeking cheaper alternatives were on display at the Golden Globes last year when Robert De Niro showed up empty-handed in the press room after receiving a lifetime achievement award.