Why the name ‘Oscars’? What you may not know about the golden statuette


With the 87th Academy Awards just two days away, everything is ready for this year’s ceremony which honours excellence in cinematic achievements by awarding the winners with the most famous shiny gold man.

Different predictions have been widely shared and nominations prepped with the official Oscar ballot closed on Tuesday, alongside updates on last-minute news, red carpet and backstage cameras.

As we can do nothing but wait until the Oscars 2015, which will take place on 22 February, we could satisfy our curiosity about the prestigious Awards ceremony as well as the original name and design of the golden statuette.

A new video released by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has revealed the history behind the Oscars which saw its first ceremony take place in 1929.

The idea for the original design came from MGM director Cedric Gibbons who thought up a statuette of a knight gripping a sword while standing on a film reel. It was created by sculptor George Stanley and presented at the first Academy Awards ceremony on 16 May, 1929.

(photo: michelangelocaruso)

The five spokes on the film reel were thought to represent the original branches of the Academy: directors, actors, writers, producers and technicians.

The design remained the same with just a slight variation in the size of the base in 1945 when the current standard for the award was adopted.

Regarding the name “Oscar”, it was officially adopted only in 1935 when it replaced the name ‘Academy Award for Merit’, which had been previously given to the famous statuette.

The origin of the moniker “Oscar” has been long unclear and widely disputed with three people claiming to have first dubbed the award. Among them, former executive director Margaret Herrick who remarked that the statuette, which at the initial ceremonies was in gold-plated bronze, reportedly looked like her Uncle Oscar when she first saw it in 1931.

According to the new video, it was apparently columnist Sidney Skolsky who first used “Oscar” as the nickname for the statuette, which came from a classic vaudeville joke line.

Check out the video below to find out more news and behind-the-scenes details about the Oscars: