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STRONG | Far from LA, Hudson Valley’s Polich Tallix Art Foundry Makes the Oscar Statuettes

STRONG | Far from LA, Hudson Valley’s Polich Tallix Art Foundry Makes the Oscar Statuettes

Photo: Polich Tallix

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Oscar is the most recognizable trophy in the world. This image of a smooth-headed, golden man standing to attention has become iconic. But where do they make all these trophies? The answer is New York’s Hudson Valley at the Fine Art Foundry Polich Tallix.

Polich Tallix, currently located in Walden, New York, was founded by Dick Polich. Born to Croatian immigrants, Polich attended Yale University on a football scholarship and graduated with a degree in economics. In the late 60s, after earning a master’s degree in metallurgy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and leaving his job as general manager of an aerospace manufacturer, Polich moved to the Hudson Valley to open his first art foundry. Polich Tallix is the current version of a series of foundries that Mr. Polich has had in Peekskill, Beacon, and Rock Tavern before moving four miles away to Walden.

Heat of Fusion from Stephen Spaccarelli on Vimeo.

In all his years running foundries, Polich has helped produce thousands of sculptures for hundreds of artists. These artworks include Jeff Koons’ gleaming stainless steel Rabbit (1986) and Louise Bourgeois’ 30-foot tall spider Maman (2003). The foundry prides itself on offering cutting-edge technology and alloys and maintaining high standards of craft. In 2016, the Academy announced that Polich Tallix would take over the making of the Oscar statuette from Chicago-based R.S. Owens and Company.

Louise Bourgeois’ 30-foot tall spider Maman (2003). Photo: Polich Tallix

The original Oscar statuette was sculpted in 1928 by George Stanley, based on sketches by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons. The first statuettes were cast in bronze by Guido Nelli at the California Bronze Foundry. For 33 years, however, the statuettes made at the Chicago-based company were cast in britannia metal and gold plated.

The Academy, wishing to return to the original process of lost-wax bronze casting, turned to Polich Tallix. To create a new version of the Oscar, Polich Tallix scanned a classic Oscar from 1928 and an Oscar from 2015 and blended the subtle differences between the two designs through 3-D modeling. At a height of 13.5 inches and weight of 8.5 pounds, the new Oscar retains the basic physical characteristics of its contemporary form, overlaid with the best features from the classic design.

Photo: Polich Tallix

The new design is then 3-D printed in wax. This wax is coated in a ceramic shell which is fired in an oven at 1600° F. With the wax having melted away, bronze at 1860° F is poured into the hot ceramic shell and allowed to cool overnight. The solid castings are then sanded to a mirror polish finish and electroplated with 24 karat gold at Epner Technology in Brooklyn, NY. The statuette’s base, also cast in bronze, receives a smooth black finish. It takes the foundry three months to make 50 statuettes.

Not only do the awards come from New York State, so do many nominees. Here’s a list of this year’s nominees who hail from New York State:

Best Actor

Call Me By Your Name’s Timothée Chalamet, Manhattan

Roman J. Israel, Esq’s Denzel Washington, Mount Vernon


Best Actress

Mudbound’s Mary J Blige, the Bronx


Best Director

Get Out’s Jordan Peele, Manhattan


Best Costume Design

Phantom Thread’s Mark Bridges, Niagara Falls


Best Documentary

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail’s Julie Goldman, New York City


Best Original Score

Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s John Williams, Floral Park

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri’s Carter Burwell, New York City


Best Original Song

Remember Me from Coco’s Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Croton-on-Hudson, and Robert Lopez, Manhattan


Best Adapted Screenplay

The Disaster Artist’s Michael H. Weber, Great Neck

Logan’s James Mangold, Hudson River Valley, and Michael Green, Mamaroneck

Molly’s Game’s Aaron Sorkin, Scarsdale


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