Tonight is the night. The night where all of Hollywood’s best actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers gather at the Dolby Theatre in their fancy dresses and bow ties to celebrate the successes of the film industry. The night where we jump for joy in front of our television screens if our favorite actors win the Oscar we hoped they would, and cry if they don’t. The night where that golden statuette is the only thing on the minds of millions of viewers around the globe.
Tonight is Oscars night.
The 85th Annual Academy Award show will air tonight at 8pm EST. I’m sure there will be much ado about it tomorrow as well. Especially since the ever so funny creator of Family Guy, Seth MacFarlane will be hosting.
But today, as sat next to my mother on the bus, I pondered about the 85th Academy Awards, and realized that there was something I longed to know:
Why is that beautiful 24 karat gold statuette named Oscar?!
So I did some research and here’s what I found:
The statuette, formally known as the Academy Award of Merit, was designed by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons and brought into three dimensions by sculptor George Stanley in 1928. It is the most recognized trophy in the world.
The Academy Award of Merit is a knight atop a film reel clutching a crusader’s sword. It stands 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 pounds. The film reel on which it stands has 5 spokes, each representing a branch of the Academy (actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers). 2,809 of these statuettes have been presented since the May 1929 Academy Award show. The first person presented with this statuette was Emil Jannings for Best Actor in the films The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh.
This lovely knight came to be known as Oscar when Academy librarian and soon to be executive director Margaret Herrick first saw the statue. She remarked that it looked like her Uncle Oscar. The Academy did not use the term Oscar until 1939, even though Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky referred to the award as such when writing about Katharine Hepburn’s first Best Actress win in 1934.
A few interesting facts about Oscar:
1. He was initially made of gold-plated solid bronze.
2. After a few years the award began to be made of Britannia metal, plated in copper, nickel silver, and lastly, 24-karat gold.
3. The metal shortage during World War II caused the Oscars to be made of painted plaster for three years! Those who received these statuettes made of plaster were asked to come back for the golden Oscar after the shortage.
4. It takes 3-4 weeks to make fifty of these beautiful knights!
Oscar is one heck of a handsome knight. All the finesse about him once a year isn’t enough to understand how successful this statuette has become. Learn more about him here: http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/about/awards/oscar.html
Time for me to go admire Oscar from my flat screen television. For all those nominated, may the odds be ever in your favor!