ACROSS THE POND in Los Angeles, on the eve of the biggest weekend in film, actors are dreaming of getting an Oscar in their paw. Well, now I can say I did that.
The Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, Dublin is home to the late set decorator Josie MacAvin’s Oscar – they generously allowed me to manhandle it for a few minutes earlier today. Here’s what I found out.
Josie MacAvin is the only Irish person to win both an Oscar and an Emmy
MacAvin won her Oscar in 1986 for set decoration on Out Of Africa (starring Meryl Streep) and her Emmy for her work on a Gone With The Wind TV mini-series in 1995.
In 1992, she donated all her material, including her two awards, to the Irish Film Archive, on the condition that they be put on permanent display.
It’s impossible not to get a bit giddy around one
As soon as the statuette was out of its case and in my paw, cinema-goers were cantering up to congratulate me on my ‘win’. Such is its effect.
It’s quite heavy
An Oscar weighs almost 4kg, which is no bloody joke for those unfamiliar with the concept of weight training.
Tip for future nominees: Work on your upper body strength before the ceremony.
It is not solid gold, as the urban legend goes
Oscars are made of gold plated over alloy, and they do undergo a bit of wear and tear as the years go by. The plating on Josie MacAvin’s award is starting to peel just a little from being touched by grimy human hands.
Oscar himself was designed by a Dublin man
The design of the statuette was overseen by Dubliner Cedric Gibbons, an employee at MGM and one of the founding members of the Academy.
Cedric himself won 11 Oscars for Art Direction, and was nominated for 28 more. *scoffs* Sure that’s nothing.
You can’t just give your Oscar away
According to Kasandra O’Connell of the Irish Film Archive, MacAvin’s Oscar is technically on ‘long term loan’ to the Irish Film Archives.
If you don’t want to sell or give away your award, you are obliged to first offer it back to the Academy, who will buy it for the princely sum of $1.
For now though, Josie MacAvin’s Oscar (and her Emmy) resides in the lobby of the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar, Dublin. Feel free to gawp…
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