Entertainment Movies Oscars 2018: The name behind the Academy Awards

Oscars 2018: The name behind the Academy Awards

The Oscar statue is of a knight holding a crusader's sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes signifying the five original branches of the Academy including actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers. Photo: Getty
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After The Shape of Water won Best Picture at the Oscars this year, many may be wondering why the Academy Awards is called the Oscars.

Officially known as the Academy Award of Merit, the golden statuette was nicknamed Oscar. In 2013 the Academy Awards decided to rebrand as ‘The Oscars’, after the statue that is presented to winning nominees.

Why is the statue named Oscar?

According to the Academy, Academy librarian and eventual executive director Margaret Herrick gave the name to the statue when she first saw it in 1931. She believed it resembled her uncle Oscar.

The Academy Awards didn’t adopt the name officially until 1939, but it was widely known enough in Hollywood by 1934. A Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky used it in a piece referring to Katharine Hepburn’s first Best Actress win.

How big is the Oscar statue?

The Oscar stands at a little under 25cm and weighs under 4kg. The statues are solid bronze and plated in 24-karat gold.

During World War II, the Oscar statues were made of painted plaster for three years due to a metal shortage.

Why were the Oscars created?

The Oscars were created by Louis B Mayer in order to showcase the movie industry’s talents for actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.

The very first Oscars took place at the Hollywood Roosevelt; 250 guests were present and 15 awards were handed out in around 15 minutes. It honoured films released from August 1, 1927 until July 31, 1928.

The longest ceremony was in 2002 where it lasted four hours and 23 minutes.

The first Oscars ceremony was held in 1927.
The first Oscars ceremony was held in May 1929. Photo: Quora

Who was the first Oscar winner?

German actor Emil Jannings won the best actor award for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh.

His award is now on display at the Berlin Film museum.

Janet Gaynor, who was 22 at the time, won the best actress for Seventh Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise.