As movie fans get their scorecards and popcorn ready for Sunday's 89th Academy Awards ceremony, two local residents will be backstage at the event, keeping track of the winners of the golden statuettes.
They have a good reason for doing so -- they work for Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry in Orange County which produces the statuettes -- and will be responsible for adding the winner's names during the famed Governor's Ball.
Formerly of Beacon, the company is known across the nation for fine art sculptures, restorations, and superb craftsmanship. So it was no surprise when they were approached by the Academy two years ago about producing the statuettes the way they had been cast in bronze in 1929.
The company came up with the design for the much-coveted statuette by combining the spirit of the original design with the more modern, later design for a more sculptural effect, said John Pisoni, production specialist.
That design is produced by a 3D-printer, molded and cast in wax, Pisoni said.
Once cast in wax, the statuette is coated in a ceramic shell that is cured and heated to 1,600 degrees. After the wax melts, leaving an Oscar-shaped form, the statuettes are hand cast in liquid bronze at more than 1,800 degrees, cooled and sanded, added Pisoni.
After the process is complete, the figure section is sent to be electroplated with 24-garat gold.
"The entire process has been an exciting project for everyone in the company," said Pisoni. "Not only has it been a learning experience, but very rewarding."
Pisoni said that each year they produce the statue, the quality and production improve.
Now that the production is complete and the statues have been shipped, the fun and nerve-wracking part of the whole experience gets underway for employees Adam Demchak of Beacon and Stephanie Minor of Orange County who will actually be meeting the stars and affixing their names to the shimmering statuettes during the star-studded ball.
But Minor and Demchak aren't the only local residents who will be attending the event. A few stars with local connections will also be on hand in hopes that they will walk away with one of the statuettes including:
- Vassar College graduate Meryl Streep who has been nominated for an Oscar for her role in “Florence Foster Jenkins.”
- “Manchester by the Sea,” executive producer, Declan Baldwin, who lives in the Hudson Valley, has been nominated for Best Picture, as well as several other categories.
- Part-time Hudson Valley resident Roger Ross Williams, has been nominated in the documentary film category as the director “Life, Animated,” a documentary based on a book by Kingston native Ron Suskind.