Academy Has an Extra Set of Oscars, Just in Case

From Reuters

Hollywood will have no shortage of Oscars this year.

The Chicago foundry that makes the gold-plated statuettes plans to mint a second set on the slim chance that last year's theft is repeated.

This year's winners of Hollywood's famed Academy Awards will receive statuettes originally intended for last year's winners before they were stolen off a truck dock.

"We'll be producing a new batch to be used for 2002, so they'll have a year's supply" on hand, Scott Siegel, president of Oscar maker R.S. Owens and Co., said Thursday.

All but three of the 55 statuettes stolen before last year's ceremony were found in a trash bin by junk dealer Willie Fulgear, who was invited to the event and given a $50,000 reward--which he later claimed was stolen from his home.

A truck driver, Lawrence Ledent, later pleaded no contest to grand theft in connection with the Oscars theft, and Fulgear's brother Willie Harris was subsequently charged with receiving stolen property and being an accessory to grand theft after the fact.

The recovered 13-inch, 8-pound statuettes, which are 24-karat gold over silver over nickel over copper, have been inspected and refurbished where necessary, Siegel said.

Instead of shipping the Oscars by truck as in the past, they will get royal treatment aboard an airline, he said.

Comedian-actor-writer Steve Martin will host the 73rd Academy Awards on March 25 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

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