This year marks the 91st time that the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences have celebrated the cinematic achievements of the previous year.
Those that are lucky enough to be victorious in categories that range from Best Picture to Best Cinematography, Best Editing and also include various Best Acting sections, too, are each presented with a tall golden statue that instantly becomes the most talked about item in their home.
Officially, these statues are called the Academy Award of Merit. But even before the very first Academy Award a nickname for the gongs had started to take hold. Oscar.
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Why are the Academy Awards called the Oscars?
But why are the Academy Awards called the Oscars?
Well, no-one actually knows for certain. The most popular origin story for the Oscars gives the credit to Margaret Herrick, a librarian for the Academy, who eventually became its executive director. After seeing the statue for the first time she said that it looked exactly like her Uncle Oscar.
Does that mean that her Uncle Oscar was covered head to toe it gold and used to stand stoically with a sword covering his genitals? We'll never know.
Nevertheless, the nickname took hold. So much so that by 1934 the famed Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky referred to it in his piece describing Katharine Hepburn’s first Best Actress success. Five years later, the Academy decided to make the nickname official, and the ceremony has bascially been called the Oscars ever since.
It’s not just Margaret Herrick that deserves some recognition when it comes to the Oscars. The design for the Oscars, which are solid bronze, plated in 24-karat gold, stand at 13½ inches tall and weigh 8½ pounds, was made by MGN art director Cedric Gibbons. While the Academy ultimately hired sculptor George Stanley to bring it to life.
The first ever Oscar was then handed to Emil Jannings, who was named the Best Actor for his performances in both The Las Command and The Way Of All Flesh, on May 16, 1929, at the The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Blossom Room. Since then over 3,000 Oscars have been handed out.
The latest recipients will receive theirs when the 91st Academy Awards takes place at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on February 24.
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