January 31, 2019 / 6:39 PM / 6 months ago

As awards race heats up, molten metal is forged into BAFTA statues

A completed British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) mask is placed next to a furnace to be photographed at a foundry in west London, Britain January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - While Bradley Cooper, Glenn Close and Emma Stone may be drafting acceptance speeches for next month’s BAFTA ceremony, in a London suburb metalworkers are equally busy, crafting the trophies the stars hope to win.

Miles from the Royal Albert Hall where the British Academy of Film and Television Arts will roll out the red carpet, molten metal is poured into moulds to create the prizes to be handed out on Feb. 10 at the event seen as an important curtain-raiser for the Oscars.

Designed by U.S. sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe in 1955, the 27 cm (11 inches) high, 3.7 kg (8 pound) tragicomic masks have been hand-made at New Pro Foundries since the 1970s.

“Once the metal has been poured, we give it a while to make it all solid, then we knock them out, remove the sand and then we shockblast them ... Then we settle them, ready to go to polishing,” New Pro Foundries Managing Director Patrick Helly said.

Costume romp “The Favourite” leads nominations with 12 nods, including for its stars Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.

Alfonso Cuaron’s Netflix movie “Roma”, political comedy “Vice”, Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born” with Lady Gaga are also in the running.

Asked if he was rooting for anyone, Helly said : “I haven’t got a clue - I really don’t know who the nominations are.

“It’ll be whoever wins it, I’m sure they’ll deserve it!.”

Reporting by Emily Roe; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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