LOS ANGELES -- The statuettes given out at the annual Academy Awards are getting a makeover this year, with the Oscars now being made by a foundry in New York.
After 32 years, the Academy switched manufacturers. And now, Oscar is going back to the future in Orange County. It is the location of the Polich Tallix Foundry, chosen by the custodians to create statuettes that resemble those of the 1920s.
"They wanted to keep the original style of the sculptural thing, but they wanted the figure to be more contemporary," Dick Polich said.
Polich's foundry has long been the favorite of artists, who depend on him to cast their sculptures. The statuettes are hand-cast in liquid bronze, then cooled, sanded and electroplated with a permanent layer of 24-karat gold, and they travels to Brooklyn to be finished at Epner Technology.
"It's got copper, nickel and gold," vice president of operations JR Candiloro said. "So three separate layers."
And that final layer is a special kind of gold, one that Dave Epner developed for NASA.
"This gold is three times harder than normal 24-carat gold," he said. "A few weeks ago, we were plating components for the James Webb space telescope. That same gold this week was put onto a figure that will make us famous."
It is a sweet moment for two friends who have a century's worth of experience between them.
"Everybody in the foundry stands a little straighter and walks a little taller," Polich said.
"We've had a similar reaction in the shop," Epner added.
Watch the Oscars on ABC on Feb. 28! Live red carpet coverage begins at 5 p.m. ET | 4 p.m. CT | 2 p.m. PT with "ON THE RED CARPET AT THE OSCARS." Check your local listings.