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Sunday, February 22, 2015

What's In a Name?

Everything tonight, especially if the name is Oscar, but that's only its nickname. 

Officially, it's the Academy Award® of Merit, although the statuette is more widely known simply as Oscar. Its appearance is recognized world-wide: a stylized figure of a knight holding a crusader's sword standing on a reel of film; five spokes signify the five original branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts — actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers. 

Contrary to some widely believed stories, the official word is that no model was used during the design process.

Oscar stands 13-1/2  tall and weighs 8-1/2 pounds (equivalent to holding a gallon of milk). Each statue is U.S. handcrafted — cast, molded, polished and buffed —  at R.S. Owens & Company in Chicago which has been making them since 1982. The manufacturing time for 50 "Oscars" is 3-4 weeks.

There's many other well known Oscars, such as Oscar de la Renta, Oscar Wilde, Oscar Pistorius, Oscar De La Hoya, Oscar Levant, Oscar Peterson, Oscar Hijuelos, Oscar the Grouch. Who can forget Oscar Mayer who popularized  B-O-L-O-G-N-A.

Nobody really knows why the Academy Award statuette is called “Oscar." Several conflicting stories have appeared over the years.

This most widely accepted story is that after seeing the statue for the first time in 1931, Academy librarian Margaret Herrick seen in the photo commented that it resembled her "Uncle Oscar."

Another story in a bio of 3-time Best Actress winner Bette Davis claims she dubbed her award "Oscar" after her husband, band leader Harmon Oscar Nelson.

The Academy didn't adopt the nickname officially until 1939. However, it was widely known by 1934 when a Hollywood columnist used it to refer to Katharine Hepburn’s first Best Actress win.

The first Awards were May 16, 1929 at a private dinner at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with less than 300 attendees. By comparison, the Dolby Theater in LA, site of tonight's 87th awards, holds 3,400. Despite its media hype and coverage, the awards show is a closed private event; tickets are not available for public sale. 

Since 1929, 2,947 statuettes have been awarded.  The statuettes given at the initial ceremonies were gold-plated solid bronze. Later, bronze was abandoned in favor of britannia metal, a pewter-like alloy with a silvery appearance and smooth surface, which is plated in copper, nickel silver, and 24-karat gold. (Due to a metal shortage during WW II, Oscars were made of painted plaster for three years. After the war, the Academy invited recipients to redeem the plaster figures for gold-plated metal ones.)

Years ago, winners were announced to the media 3 months before the awards. That changed in 1930 for the 2nd Academy Awards ceremony when results were given to newspapers for publication at 11:00 p.m. the night of the awards. This was done until 1940 when the Los Angeles Times published winners names before the ceremony start. Since 1941, the Academy has sealed the results in envelopes with content secret until opened on stage.

Just wondering . . .
  • Have you seen any of the nominated films?
  • Do you plan — or did you watch the presentation?
We saw only one of the Best Picture nominees: The Grand Budapest Hotel. Grenville liked its madcap humor while I found it a bit too silly. The local public library is showing another best film nominee, Whiplash, at a free showing this week and that will be our second film.

11 comments:

Gill - That British Woman said...

I will be watching the red carpet but that's about it. Haven't watched any of the movies and don't plan on doing so.

Out on the prairie said...

I may turn it on to see the glitz. I haven't seen any of the films. I keep saying I'm going to.

William Kendall said...

Oh, I never watch the Oscars, but I do an Oscars post each year in my writer's blog. It gets a bit silly.

Country Gal said...

Not a fan of it all really but each to his own right ? Thanks for sharing . Have a good day !

Emma Springfield said...

I have not seen any of the nominated movies for some reason. Some like American Sniper I will probably never see but others I will watch when it appears on HBO or whatever channel gets the rights first. So I do not have any predictions. Maybe Michael Keaton will win but it seems that Redmayne is the favorite.

Sandra said...

did not watch it since i have seen none of the movies... watched red carpet until 8

Anvilcloud said...

We saw nary a one, and we skipped the Oscars for the first time in quite awhile last night. But I once knew a dog called Oscar.

Ginnie said...

Interesting background info. The only one I've seen is "The Grand Budapest Hotel". My two boys loved it and I thought it was a waste of time.

Montanagirl said...

We don't ever watch the Oscars. Have no idea at this point who won what.

Eggs In My Pocket said...

Very interesting post! No I have not yet seen any of the nominated films. I watch television late in the day. I need to watch more movies. LOL

Daisy said...

The Grand Budapest Hotel is the only one of the nominated movies that I have seen too! There are several of the others I hope to see before too long.

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