The coveted title of Oscar creator has now been bestowed upon Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry, a company based in Rock Tavern, New York. Former manufacturer R.S. Owens & Company will continue to service and restore older statuettes, as well as create other awards and for The Academy (including the plaques handed out for the Scientific and Technical Awards).
According to The Academy, Polich Tallix based its slightly-updated design on the very first Oscar statuettes, using a bronze Oscar cast from 1929. The new trophy now boasts "restored subtle features of George Stanley's original sculpture, which was based on sketches by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons, " per The Academy, while "the overall size of the statuette remains the same."
Here's the breakdown of Polich Tallix's painstaking process, which begins with a digital scan of the 1929 form and a 3D-printed model that's then 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.
All told, it takes about three months for Polich Tallix to create 50 Oscars. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos The Academy shared on Twitter:
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 16, 2016
The company will be ready for its closeup when the 88th annual Academy Awards are handed out on February 28.
Photo credit: The Academy/Twitter