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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2006, 12:07 GMT
In pictures: Making the Oscars

moulded Oscar statuettes

The statuettes handed out at the Oscars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are among the world's most recognisable trophies.

moulded Oscar statuettes

The statues are cast in pewter alloy britannium before being treated with copper, nickel, silver and 24k gold. It can take up to a day to make each one at RS Owens studio in Chicago.

Moulded Oscar statuette

The entire collection of new trophies was stolen in 2000 en route to Los Angeles. Most were later recovered but RS Owens managed to rush through a replacement batch in time.

Examining polished Oscar statuette

Instead of having a quality control checker, each member of the production team is able to reject a piece if they think it is not up to standard.

Oscar statuette being sanded and polished

The company also repairs any statues that get damaged. This is usually down to people trying to clean it with harsh chemicals, rubbing through the lacquer into the gold.

Oscar statuette being dipped into plating material

Between 50 and 60 statuettes are made each year, although it is not known until the ceremony how many will be handed out because there may be multiple winners in a category.

Oscar statuettes with copper, nickel and silver plating

The company also engraves the name plates for the statues. Because the winners are not known until the event these are created after and attached by the Academy.

completed Oscar statuette

The exact reason why the trophies are called Oscars is not clear. It is thought an Academy member remarked in the 1930s that it looked like her Uncle Oscar.


The completed statuettes are now on display in New York's Times Square until 1 February. They will then be transported to Los Angeles ahead of the Academy Awards ceremony.

Oscar statues on view in New York
24 Jan 06 |  Entertainment

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