Oscar, the Golden Boy

The 89th annual Academy Awards will be held on 26th February – and on the occasion of the year’s biggest celebration of cinema, we’ve decided to introduce our dear readers to a really special someone, whose company is sought by most people working in the business. Ladies and gentlemen: meet Mr. Oscar!

The original design of “Oscar” was by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons. He came up with a statuette of a knight standing on a reel of film gripping a crusader’s sword. The Academy commissioned the Los Angeles sculptor George Stanley to create the design in three dimensions, based on actor Emilio Fernandez.

Since the first Academy Awards, held on 16 May, 1929, 2947 statuettes have been presented. It was presented for the first time at the banquet to Emil Jannings, named Best Actor for his performances in “The Last Command” and “The Way of All Flesh”.

The statue stands 35 centimetres tall, and weighs in at a robust 3,85 kilograms.

The statuettes are cast, moulded, polished and buffed by R.S. Owens & Company, the Chicago-based awards manufacturer retained by the Academy since 1982. It takes three to four weeks to create 50 Oscars.

Officially named the Academy Award of Merit, the statuette is better known by its nickname, Oscar. A popular story has it that upon seeing the trophy for the first time, Academy librarian Margaret Herrick remarked that it resembled her Uncle Oscar. The Academy didn’t adopt the nickname officially until 1939.

The film reel upon which the figure stands on features five spokes, signifying the five original branches of the Academy: actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.