Oscars 2020: The statuette’s Croatian connection

The 92nd Academy Awards, which honoured the best films of 2019, took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on Sunday 9 February 2020.

This year’s winners took home the famous Oscar statuette, which for the fifth year in a row will have a Croatian connection.

Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry in New York, which is owned by the son of Croatian immigrants, has once again manufactured the famous Oscar statuette for the Academy Awards. For over 30 years the Oscar statuettes were made by a Chicago trophy firm, but five years ago the Academy selected Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry to take over the duties.

Polich Tallix was founded by Dick Polich. Polich’s (Polić) parents came to America at the beginning of the 1920s from the small village of Zlobin, which is situated between Primorje and Gorski Kotar near Bakra on the northern Adriatic coast. Dick grew up in a western Chicago suburb among the Croatian immigrant community.

He has said in interviews that he does not know too much about Croatia but does remember the stories and legends he was told as a kid. He last visited Croatia over 20 years ago and says that he has not spoken Croatian since his mother died 17 years ago.

Polich Tallix was among the first in the United States to offer technical expertise and industrial capabilities in metalworking, which had previously been only capable in Europe.

Polich, who went to Yale University on a football scholarship and graduated with an economics degree before founding his own foundry, has made thousands of sculptures in his career and worked with more than five hundred artists. At the foundry at any one time, work is being carried out on over two hundred different works of art, from architectural elements to US national monuments to small sculptures and other art pieces.