It's been called "the Academy statuette," "the golden trophy" and "the
statue of merit." The entertainment trade paper, Weekly Variety, even
attempted to popularize "the iron man." Thankfully, the term never
stuck. Born in 1928, the Academy Award of Merit which we know as
simply "the Oscar" depicts a knight holding a crusader's sword,
standing on a reel of film with five spokes, signifying the original
branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers and
Technicians.

Weighing 8.5 pounds and standing 13.5 inches tall, the statuette was
designed by MGM's chief art director Cedric Gibbons. Frederic Hope,
Gibbons' assistant, created the original Belgian black marble base; artist
George Stanley sculpted the design; and the California Bronze Foundry
hand cast the first statuette in bronze plated with 24-karat gold.

The Origin of the Oscar Name
A popular but unsubstantiated story has been that the moniker caught on
after Academy librarian and eventual executive director Margaret
Herrick said that the statuette resembled her Uncle Oscar. Its first
documented mention came after the sixth Awards Presentation in 1934
when Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky used it in reference to
Katharine Hepburn's first Best Actress win. The Academy itself didn't use
the nickname officially until 1939.

Oscar has changed his look on occasion.
From the 1930s through the 50's, juvenile players received miniature
replicas of the statuette; ventriloquist Edgar Bergen was presented with
a wooden statuette with a movable mouth; and Walt Disney was
honored with one full-size and seven miniature statuettes on behalf of
his animated feature SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS. In support
of the World War II effort between 1942 and 1944, Oscars were made of
plaster, to be traded in for golden statuettes after the war. Additionally,
the base was raised and changed from marble to metal in 1945. And in
1949, Academy Award statuettes began to be numbered, starting with
No. 501.
Oscar's height: 13 in

Oscar's weight: 8 lbs

Number of Oscars presented at Academy Awards shows
or to winners absent from show to date: 2,658

Number of competitive categories in 1927: 12

Number of competitive categories in 2007: 24

How many people it takes to make a statuette: 12

How long it takes to make a statuette: 20 hrs

Number of Oscars manufactured each year: 50-60

How many Oscars have been refused: 3

Number of decorative prop Oscar statues: 65

Smallest decorative prop Oscar statue: 1 ft

Tallest decorative prop Oscar statue: 24 ft

Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The statuettes are
made from alloy
britannium




They are then plated in
copper, nickel silver,
then 24-karat gold



Each statuette is 13.5
inches tall and weighs
8.5 lbs



"Oscar" was designed
by MGM's chief art
director Cedric
Gibbons



The statuette features
a knight holding a
crusader's sword,
standing on a reel of
film