Everything You Need to Know About the Oscars' Backstage Engraving Bar
Ever wonder what an Academy Award winner does after their name is called and they gleefully accept their Oscar in front of their esteemed peers? Head to the bar—well, the engraving bar. TikTok has pulled the curtain back on Hollywood's biggest night, offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse at stars like Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis getting their prized statues engraved. Naturally, the internet has a lot of questions right now.
One viewer wrote: "OMG! There's an engraving station now? No more of those home delivery Oscars?" Another wondered what the engraving bar means for the winners and asked, "Does this mean that they can change their winners anytime just in case?"
Don't worry, TikTok sleuths: We did a little digging and are answering your most burning questions below.
Since When Did the Oscars Get an Engraving Bar?
For most of the Academy Awards' storied history, the winner would have to go to the Academy at a later date to get the gilded statue personalized. (The show-stopping statuettes have been made by UAP Polich Tallix since 2016.) However, in 2010, statue manufacturer R.S. Owens shook things up. “An Oscar statuette just isn’t complete until a nameplate is attached,” former Academy president Tom Sherak told The Hollywood Reporter 13 years ago. “The Governors Ball is the perfect place for Oscar winners to add that final touch as they celebrate their accomplishment and the year’s movies.” Since then, the Engraving Bar has been the perfect finishing touch to the A-List affair.
How Does the Engraving Bar Work?
Unlike the name might suggest, the Engraving Bar doesn't technically engrave the statues right then and there. You see, Oscar statues are pre-drilled so a nameplate can be affixed as soon as the recipient is announced. Since Academy Awards winners are notoriously in demand after their big win—places to go, people to see!—an Oscar engraver revealed a few years ago that nameplates are made for all nominees to expedite the final product. (Each plaque has the nominee's name, their category, and the movie they're being honored for. All unused nameplates are recycled and/or used another year.)
Once a winner confirms that the information on their plaque is correct, the engraver drills on their personal plate, give Mr. Oscar a quick polish, and hand it back to them. That way, the industry's biggest talent can celebrate with an award that has their name written all over it.
Why Aren't the Awards Engraved Beforehand?
We know what you're thinking: If the Academy Award winners are determined ahead of time, why not engrave the prized statues before the big night? It all sounds logical until you remember the results are literally stored under lock and key.
Audit and accounting firm PwC reportedly tallies the ballots and has two representatives bring the prized envelopes in a briefcase and an entourage of police protection. (Not only are there two copies of the envelopes, but PwC's representatives are required to memorize the results.) After taking so many measures to conceal the results until the live broadcast, a pre-engraved statuette would be like a spoiler to the award season finale.
Plus, it looks like swinging by the Engraving Bar is a sweet, almost-surreal moment that winners will never forget.
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