Surrounded by cameras pushing to get a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio receiving his first Oscar, Stephanie Minor ’09 had the pressure-filled task of attaching the engraved nameplate on to the statuette and presenting it to him after the ceremony. Their interaction, made possible by Minor’s job, was captured in photos and on a video that quickly went viral, appearing in outlets such as People, Time, and “Entertainment Tonight.” Watch the video:
“You imagine one thing, but it is nothing like that - it is like ‘wow,’” says Minor, who majored in illustration and minored in sculpture and art history. She admits she was nervous, but says the experience proved that she could stay calm under pressure.
Minor’s poise could come in handy at the Oscars for many years to come. In 2014, the Academy contacted Rock Tavern, New York-based Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry where Minor works about the possibility of making the statuettes. Working as project manager on the account, Minor used her educational background to work closely on the design and quality of the statuettes and was able to give the Academy feedback on its ideas and vision. This led to a long-term contract with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to produce the statuettes that will be presented at future Oscars.
In November 2015, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced that Polich Tallix would replace R.S. Owens & Company after 32 years of producing the trophies. “The new statuette exemplifies impeccable craftsmanship and the enduring nature of art,” Isaacs said.
“I feel very grateful to have had this opportunity," Minor says. “This is my dream job — to work in the art world and help artists make their artwork.” And handing Leonardo DiCaprio his Oscar was a dream bonus.