Remembering Dick Polich Oscar Sunday

(released 3/6/2023)

The Oscars are being presented Sunday, March 12th on ABC. The Oscar (TM) has a history of creation in New York. The Oscar (TM) statuette has stood on mantels of the greatest filmmakers in history since the initial awards banquet on May 16, 1929 held in the Hotel Roosevelt's Blossom Room.  Over 3,000 statuettes since have been presented and each January new golden statuettes are cast by Piloch Tallix fine art foundry in New York's Hudson Valley.

Shortly after the formation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927, the fledgling organization held a dinner in the Crystal Ballroom of the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles to set out its goals. Among the topics discussed that night was how best to honor outstanding moviemaking achievements and thereby encourage excellence in all facets of motion picture production.

Agreeing to institute an annual award, the group turned its attention to creating a suitably majestic trophy. MGM art director Cedric Gibbons designed a statuette of a knight standing on a reel of film gripping a crusader's sword. The Academy tapped Los Angeles sculptor George Stanley to realize the design in three dimensions – and the world-renowned statuette was born.

Standing 13 1/2 inches tall and weighing in at a robust 8 1/2 pounds, the official name for the statuette is the Academy Award of Merit although better known by its nickname OSCAR (TM). While the origins of the moniker aren't clear, a popular story has it that upon seeing the trophy for the first time, Academy librarian (and eventual executive director) Margaret Herrick remarked that it resembled her Uncle Oscar. The Academy didn't adopt the nickname officially until 1939, but it was widely known enough by 1934 that Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky used it in a piece referring to Katharine Hepburn's first Best Actress win.

Back in 2016, the Academy announced that Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry, based in Rock Tavern, New York will exclusively create its iconic Oscar Statuettes, starting with the 88th Academy Awards. The Academy also announced in a process that returns to the Oscar's (TM) fine art roots, the statuettes will now be hand-cast in bronze before receiving its 24-karat gold finish.

Using a cast bronze Oscar from 1929, Polich Tallix artisans have restored subtle features of George Stanley's original sculpture, which was based on sketches by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons.  The overall size of the statuette remains the same.

Polich Tallix, founded by Dick Polich in 1972, combines advanced technology with world-class craftsmanship as it strives to create works of art that preserve each artist's unique purpose and vision. Polich sold the Foundry in 2020 to UAP. It was noted on the UAP company website on November 23, 2022 that Richard F. (Dick) Polich passed away on November 13, 2022 peacefully under hospice care at the age of 90.

A memorial service for Polich is planned for Spring 2023 at UAP Polich Tallix. We remember Polich this OSCAR (TM) Sunday as his craftsmanship and artistic legacy is forever visible on many a fine filmmaker's mantel.

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