Oscars 2020: Things you didn’t know about the statuettes
On Sunday night, the stars of the big screen came together for the 92nd Oscars ceremony, as the world found out which films had won the famous gold statuettes this year.
The 1st Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honoured the best films of 1927 and 1928 and took place on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles, California. AMPAS president Douglas Fairbanks hosted the show.
Did you know that nobody actually knows for sure why the awards are called the ‘Oscars’. Rumour has it that when a woman called Margaret Herrick, who worked for the organisation which gives out the awards, first saw the little statuette, she said that it looked like her Uncle Oscar – and the name stuck! It was officially adopted in 1939.
So, that’s why they are known as the ‘Oscars’ but the official name of the award is actually an Academy Award of Merit.
Despite their shiny looks, the statuettes are not actually solid gold. They are really made out of bronze and then plated in 24-carat gold instead.
It may not come as a surprise to learn that Oscar statues aren’t the quickest things to make. It takes three months just to make 50 of them, so we imagine the people who make the awards have been busy for quite some time to get so many awards ready for Sunday.
But they can be made quickly when needed! Before the Academy Awards in 2000, 55 statues were stolen on their way to the ceremony, 52 were recovered nine days later. Winners were unaffected as a new batch was rushed out.
So how big actually are they? Well, each Oscar statuette is just under 35cm tall and weighs almost 4kg, which is about the same as a cat. That’s quite heavy!
This year is the 92nd Oscars, so the awards have been going for a long time! During World War II, though, there was a metal shortage, so the statuettes were actually made of painted plaster for 3 years. The people who won them during those years were able to swap them after the war for metal ones.
Finally, what does the statuette actually represent? Well, it has a film reel on it (which makes sense given what the awards are for!). But this film reel has five spokes for a very special reason. They in fact represent the original five branches of the Academy, which gives out the awards – actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.