Oscars take flight on United from O’Hare Airport

O’Hare Airport had a couple of extra visitors this morning in terminal B. Joining the rest of the passengers heading to Los Angeles on the United flight dubbed “Oscar 1” was none other than Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His entourage consisted of several dozen short, gold men: this year’s Academy Awards.

Mr. Sherak was personally escorting the awards from their birthplace at the R.S. Owens Foundry to the ceremony. Passers-by were stopped in their tracks when they saw the famous statue being passed from person to person, and even making an appearance on a nearby concession stand counter. Sherak cleared things up by taking to the intercom himself, inviting anyone who wanted to take their own photo with Oscar.

Airport staff and passengers alike had their fun with the award. Guests pretended to write acceptance speeches, thanked their parents, and a couple brave souls lifted the 8.5-pound award single-handedly to the sky. When asked questions about what metals the statue was made of, Sherak pulled out a cheat sheet from his pocket for help: gold on the outside, then Britannia (tin, antimony, and copper) on the inside.

The crew of the flight also got to spend a few minutes with Oscar, and he even took a trip to the cockpit, where Captain Mel Mason Jr. said he was the most prestigious non-human passenger he’d ever flown. The other 42 trophies were also on board, stashed securely in the plane’s cargo. But preparing for the 4 1/2 hour flight, Sherak still had his Oscar in his lap, available for the passengers. Sherak was uncertain about their arrival time: “We’ll see how the speeches go. It could be a seven hour flight.”