Didja know, the Oscar statuette is formally known as the Academy Award of Merit? It only got it’s famously known name of Oscar when Academy librarian Margaret Herrick remarked that it strongly resembled her uncle Oscar. Imagine being the person that the most prestigious award in cinema is named after!
Before the name of “Oscar” stuck, people had also referred to it as the golden trophy, the statue of merit and the iron man. However, Bette Davis could also have a claim on giving the award it’s famous nickname moniker. When she won her first award in 1936, she remarked that the statuette looked just like her ex-husband Harmon “Oscar” Nelson… especially it’s butt!
Despite popular belief, the statuette isn’t made of solid gold. It’s actually just gold-plated; and comprised of an alloy called Brittania, which is made of 93% tin, 5% antimony and 2% copper. During World War II there was a need to conserve metal for the war effort, and thusly the awards were actually made of plaster. After the war ended, winners were allowed to exchange them for the shinier statues.
Until the 1950’s, children winning Oscars were actually given mini-statuettes, and when ventriloquist Edgar Bergen won an honorary Oscar in 1938 along with his “dummy” Charlie McCarthy, he was presented with one made of wood, along with a moveable mouth!
In 1939, Walt Disney got an honorary Oscar for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. He was presented with one full sized Oscar and seven miniature Oscar statues! Didja know that Disney held the record for most nominations (48), wins (22) and honorary given (4)?
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