Complete coverage of the 85th annual Academy Awards

Meet the Oscars, Chicago

Chicagoans can hold real Oscar statuette at Northbridge

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    If you've ever wanted to hold one of these babies, here''s your big chance.

    Ever wanted to know what it's like to hold an Academy Award?

    For the first time, Oscar fans can hold a real statuette and take a photo during the "Meet the Oscars Chicago" exhibit.

    And the Oscar Goes to ... You!

    [CHI] And the Oscar Goes to ... You!
    And now, the moment we've all been waiting for ... the chance to get our hands on a real Oscar statuette. Check out these regular people who got a chance to revel in the spotlight. (Published Monday, May 4, 2009)

    The exhibit is open Friday, February 13 until Oscar night, February 22 at The Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue; admission is free.

    This exhibit, exclusive to Chicago, features the manufacturing process of the statuettes. Several statuettes that are on display will be presented at next year's Oscars; another one of them is the legendary Clark Gable's Academy Award from his performance in "It Happened One Night" in 1934.

    It's only thirteen and a half inches tall, just over five inches wide, and weighs eight and a half pounds. Don't let the size fool you, it takes skill, precision, and patience to create the Oscar statuette.

    The Academy Award statuettes have been manufactured since 1982 by R.S. Owens & Company, based in Chicago.

    The first step of the process is casting. Each Academy Award is made one at a time, which takes up to four weeks for all 50 that are going to Hollywood for the 81st Annual Academy Awards

    After casting, the Oscar's dull surface is buffed smooth and then polished for a mirror-like, shiny finish.

    The next step is taking the awards to the electroplating room.

    In there, the Oscars are dipped into several different liquid solutions; the last layer is 24 carat gold. After plating, each statuette is sealed with a heavy coat of lacquer.

    Once the Oscar is assembled on top of its base, it's ready to be shipped off to Los Angeles.