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.”


Travel the World with Oscar

In years past, local tourist boards saw generous spikes in traffic after popular movies featured the locations they tout. For example, both Alberta and Wyoming enjoyed gobs of slack-jawed, cash-carrying visitors last year after Brokeback Mountain won all those accolades. If you want to travel to the locations in which this year’s Best Picture-nominated films were set, here’s where you’d have to go.

The nominees for best picture are:

  • Babel — To visit the locations in this whirling dervish of a film, you’d better make sure your passport is current. After all, you’ll be heading to Morocco, Japan, and Mexico.
  • The Departed — Set in Boston, lucky movie-set-hunters may also get to see where Good Will Hunting was filmed.
  • Letters From Iwo Jima — Next month, Military Historical Tours will visit Iwo Jima on the 62nd anniversary of the historic Battle.
  • Little Miss Sunshine — Road trip!!! Follow the dysfunctional Hoover family’s path along Route 66. Just be certain to have a more dependable vehicle.
  • The Queen — Filmed in Scotland, the movie mainly uses stand-ins for the locations on film, but persistent travelers can book cottages at Balmoral Castle.

Personally, I’d like to visit Uganda, but The Last King of Scotland didn’t get a nod for Best Picture. Nevertheless, the 79th Annual Academy Awards are this Sunday. You can book your travel any time you like.