Film achievements in up to 25 categories will be honoured on 10 February, 2020, at the 92nd Academy Awards. In honour of the film industry’s biggest annual event, let us introduce you to a really special someone, whose company is sought by most of the people working in the movie business. Ladies and gentlemen: meet Mr. Oscar!
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 original design of the Oscar was realized 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.
The Oscar was presented for the first time at the initial awards banquet (held on 15 May, 1929) to Emil Jannings, named Best Actor for his performances in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. Since the first ceremony, 3,048 statuettes have been awarded, not counting those that don’t end up on someone’s night cabinet. Any surplus awards are housed in the Academy’s vault until next year’s event.
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 fifty Oscars, and each one costs about $400 as far as production goes. Standing at 35 centimetres, it weighs in at a robust 3,85 kilograms. The film reel upon which the figure stands features five spokes, signifying the five original branches of the Academy: actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.
Walt Disney is the most honoured person in the history of the Academy Awards. He received 59 nominations and 26 competitive awards throughout his career. Other record holders include John Williams with 51 nominations as the most nominated living person, Meryl Streep as the most nominated performer in Oscars history with 21 nominations, and Daniel Day-Lewis, the only person to have won the Oscar for Best Actor three times.