Away from the spotlight of Hollywood, specialty manufacturers thrive
The stuff that Hollywood dreams are made of come from a workshop in Oklahoma.
It took six artisans and some very high-tech machines in a factory in Grove, Okla. to produce 100 statuettes for this weekend’s Golden Globes ceremony.
Since 2009, the Golden Globes statuette has been produced by Society Awards, the New York trophy designer and manufacturer. While the company had originally manufactured at a workshop in its Long Island City headquarters, it recently shifted production to a five-acre facility in Grove after outgrowing its former space.
Society Awards is the brainchild of David Moritz, an Oklahoma high school kid who fled to the bright lights of the big city to attend college in New York. A trained attorney, the 35-year-old Moritz, set up the company in 2007 after noticing a gap in the market for high-end trophy producers. Society Awards has also made trophies for the MTV Video Music Awards, the Clio Awards for advertising professionals and Boeing Co.
You can pick up a replica trophy on Amazon for as little as $4, but Mortiz puts the golden in the globes. He spent two years working with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Golden Globes’ organizer, tweaking the statuette design. Its artisans are all college-educated, many with electronic engineering degrees. And he won’t disclose the unit price of each Golden Globe, but experts ballpark the cost at around $800 each.
“You need to be happy to work with your hands but also have the education to use the software,” says Moritz, who moved production to Grove partly because there were more skilled laborers there.
The Golden Globe statuettes are made of marble and zinc and covered in real gold. Society Awards won’t make unauthorized replicas, but for a trophy of similar quality, the company sources Eastern European marble, which is then hand cut and polished. The zinc metal globe on the statuette is run through an industrial die casting process typically reserved for engine parts. It is then hand finished and electroplated with gold. Industry sources say they can spend 12 to 20 man hours making trophies as intricate as the Golden Globe and Oscar statuettes.
Even after the trophies are shipped to California, Society Awards will see them again. When Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio won their respective Golden Globes last year, the awards didn’t come with their names engraved. To personalize the 10.5 inch-high, roughly six pounds-heavy statuette, the owners had to temporarily return them to Society Awards.
Society Awards, which makes approximately 100,000 trophies annually, is one of a few specialty manufacturers whose products line the glass cabinets of Hollywood royalty and big-shot executives. The Oscars are made by Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry, a Rock Tavern, N.Y.-based studio that has worked with art world superstar Jasper Johns. Chicago manufacturer R.S. Owens, which now contracts for the Emmy Awards, crafted the Oscars from 1982 to 2015.
Employees do occasionally get to brush up against Tinseltown royalty. While Moritz won’t be at the awards ceremony this Sunday, he has attended past Golden Globe events. “I hope everybody drinks a lot and has a good time, but I really want ‘Deadpool’ to win,” he says.
This article was originally published on MarketWatch.
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