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The Oscars

The glittering 81st Annual Academy Awards have just ended, showering prestigious honors on its winners, and pumping lots of money into the economy.

February 23, 2009 4:38 by

The statuette

The much-coveted trophy was designed by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons, as a statuette of a knight standing on a reel of film gripping a crusader’s sword, and the actual statue was made by sculptor George Stanley. The film reel features five spokes: actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.

The trophy was officially named the Academy Award of Merit, but the name Oscar apparently came up after the Academy librarian (and later executive director) Margaret Herrick, after seeing it for the first time, said that the statue resembled her Uncle Oscar. The Academy adopted the nickname officially in 1939.

The Oscar is 13½ inches tall and weighs 8½ pounds and is made by RS Owens and Company, a Chicago-based awards manufacturer. The original statuettes were gold-plated solid bronze, but a few years later, bronze was ditched for Britannia metal, an alloy, which is then plated in copper, nickel silver, and finally, 24-karat gold.

More than 2,720 statuettes have been presented since 1929.


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