The 50 statuettes needed for the Academy Awards on February 28th will be slightly different from recent years. For the past 34 years Oscar was previously made by Chicago’s R.S. Owen’s & Company. However, the 2016 Oscar statuettes are made by Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry in New York.
With the change of foundry comes other changes. Polich Tallix is restoring features of the original design to the Oscar statuettes for 2016 using digital scans and 3-D printers.
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.
Since no one knows who the recipients are at this time, Polich Tallix staff will be on hand at the presentation ceremony to put nameplates on the bases after the Oscar statuettes have been presented.
Oscar is still plated in 24-karat gold. Oscar’s dimensions remain the same: He’s 13 ½-inches tall and weighs 8 ½ pounds. All told, it takes about three months for Polich Tallix to create 50 Oscars.