The pride of Hollywood will be showing off their priceless statuettes at the 90th Academy Awards this week, but why is the event - and its gold-plated trophies - called the Oscars?
In fact, while it is popularly known as the Oscar, the statuette is officially known as an Academy Award of Merit. The 'Oscar' nickname was only adopted in 1939, five years after it was referenced by Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky in a piece about Katherine Hepburn’s Best Actress victory.
What are the dimensions of an Oscar?
The solid bronze, 24-carat gold-plated Oscar features a knight standing on a reel of film with five spokes and gripping a crusader’s sword. The five spokes signify the Academy’s five original branches – actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.
It was designed by Cedric Gibbons, the chief art director at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It stands 13.5 inches tall and weighs in at eight-and-a-half pounds.
Prior to their more grandiose appearance, the Oscars had to be made out of painted plaster due to a metal shortage during the Second World War.
It takes 10 days to make one Oscar and a total of three months to make 50 of the award ceremony statuettes. They are sculpted by Los Angeles artist George Stanley and manufactured by Polich Tallix, a fine art foundry.
Why is the statue called Oscar?
There has been much conjecture about how the Oscar got its nickname.
One school of thought is that a librarian at the Academy, Margaret Herrick, first set eyes on the statuette in 1934 and remarked that it looked like her Uncle Oscar. Herrick went on to become executive director at the Academy.
Another story behind the name came from a biography of the film star Bette Davis, herself a winner of two Best Actress Oscars. It was claimed that Davis named it Oscar because the statuette looked similar to her first husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson, when he stepped out of the shower.