A Quick Word From: Oscar Engraver Who’s Going to Engrave Based on a Hunch This Year

I don't know, La La Land, probably?

I don’t know, La La Land, probably? Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

My name is Henry Gerber, and my job is to engrave each and every Oscar after the winner is announced. It is a high honor to perform this prestigious job. Any engraver is lucky to have it. The thing is, there are a lot of Oscars, and engraving is hard.

So I think I’m going to guess ahead of time this year.

I know, I know. I will probably get some wrong. That’s fine. I can engrave over them. I am very good at engraving. I have also won the Engraver Union’s Oscar Pool four out of the last ten years, so I will likely guess well.

I know it is tradition to engrave the Oscar after the winner receives it, but do you have any idea how impatient people are after they win an Oscar? Do you want to be the person to tell Leo he has to wait even longer for his Oscar because you are still painstakingly transcribing Alicia Vikander’s name? I don’t think so. He will hit you. 

I once got engravers-cramp midway through Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful Oscar, and Gwyneth Paltrow had to go home with an empty statue for Shakespeare in Love. If you forgot that Gwyneth Paltrow won an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, it’s probably because my hand was too shaky to engrave it. She had to get a street artist on Hollywood Boulevard to do it for her. It looked terrible and likely made her the way she is today.

It is incredibly stressful. I have spelled Alejandro Iñárritu’s name wrong four different ways for two years in a row. I mean, have you ever cried while the entire cast and crew of Argo screamed at you to hurry up so they could Instragram? If not, then don’t you dare judge me.

I have asked the accountant nerds at Price Waterhouse Cooper to tell me the winners ahead of time. I have told them how good I am at keeping secrets, but they just smile their nerdy little coy smiles and say they made a promise not to tell anyone. Having a secret doesn’t make you better than everyone else, you know? God, I hate them.

So yeah, I’m going to engrave this year based on my hunches. Deal with it. I engraved the Zootopia Oscar five months ago, which is such a relief because “Z”s are incredibly hard to engrave. I personally would give it to Moana, but it’ll probably be Zootopia because of its confused political message.

Now I know that it will likely be awkward if I write Emma Stone’s name on the Oscar and then Natalie Portman wins. I am willing to take the Portman heat. Plus, I will be able to quickly engrave her name because I won’t be backed up this year from engraving the Best Live Action Short Oscar (I am planning on engraving an Oscar for each of the Best Live Action Short nominees. I will then give the Oscars of the shorts that lose to children in Africa like how they do with the t-shirts for teams that lose the Super Bowl).

So what did I already engrave? Mahershala Ali (Thank God. Would def get that wrong on the spot). Viola Davis (I think everyone is pretty okay with me engraving this one ahead of time). Casey Affleck (this is not an endorsement of the man. I just pick who I think will win). I know it’s in my best interest to pick the favorites in each category, but I couldn’t help but engrave Hell or High Water for Original Screenplay. I just feel like there’s room for an upset there, and I really enjoyed its straightforward thrills and relatable characters.

As for Best Picture, I went ahead and engraved La La Land. It was a tough decision, but it’s the safest bet. This way if Moonlight wins, they can hold up the La La Land Oscar in an ironic “Dewey Defeats Truman” kind of way.

If I get most of these wrong, this will probably be my last Oscars. That’s fine. I can go back to engraving the Golden Globes, where typos go unnoticed for years until someone donates them to a Planet Hollywood.

Worst case scenario, I get to go home with a botched La La Land Sound Editing Oscar. I’m at peace knowing that this is a gamble. I just want celebrities to stop yelling at me. I can’t have Meryl Streep angry at me again. She has learned my name by now, and her insults have gotten personal.

A Quick Word From: Oscar Engraver Who’s Going to Engrave Based on a Hunch This Year