Trophy tales

Three score and 60 kudofests ago, org makes the very first Golden Globe

Back in ’46, Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. members put their heads together to create an award statuette befitting a post-WWII global community. They vetoed plenty of ideas. At one point, the org considered creating a trophy called the Golden Quill, in honor of its own foreign correspondent community. In a lightbulb flash, however, prexy Maria Cisternas of Chile saw inspiration in a planetary orb — and the statuette with golden globe and filmstrip belt was cast.

“There was a need to feel unity after the world was so devastated,” explains Marianne Ruuth, a Swedish journalist and HFPA member since 1960.

The ornate Globe statuette hasn’t changed in 60 years, with the minor exception of gaining a sturdier marble base.

Sculptor Joyce Scott, whose work was the subject of a 30-year retrospective at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2000, appreciates the historic quality of the statuette.

“It is really a piece of its time,” Scott says. “There’s a stodginess to it, a kind of uber-compactness. If you think of the cars of that period, the jewelry, it’s almost art deco in its roundness… It has presence.”

While the Oscar’s pewter mold is multiplated using copper, nickel, silver and gold, the Globe is cast metal, mostly zinc, plated once in 24-carat gold.

The Globe is lighter on its feet than some other iconic American trophies. While college football’s Heisman Trophy features a solid bronze footballer weighing in at a whopping 25 pounds, and the Oscar weighs 8.5 pounds, the Golden Globe is a svelte 5 pounds, 7.8 ounces. It stands 10.75 inches tall, more petite than Oscar and Heisman, both 13.5 inches high.

Encore Awards in Glendora, Calif., which has manufactured the Globes for 30 years, rejects roughly 20% of its output, as does Oscar manufacturer R.S. Owens in Chicago, because of spoilage in casting and other flaws.

The metal must be sizzling enough to fill the detail of its mold and create a complete casting.

“The Globe is relatively simple compared to some sculptures because of its size,” says Encore owner Tom Selinske. “With the Heisman (and all of its various appendages), you’ve got a lot more metal to pour.”

Is a Globe harder or easier to cast than an Oscar?

“In the sense that there is more detail to capture in the Globe, I would say it is a little bit tougher (than the Oscar),” Selinske says.

Each Globe sells for $250, but both the Heisman and Oscar manufacturers have signed contracts to zip lips on pricetag. The Academy Award abstract has been priced by some news sources at $18,000, valuing prestige along with raw materials.

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