How the Oscar statuette came into being (Lead)

February 22nd, 2009 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, Feb 22 (IANS) In 1928, Mexican film director Emilio “El Indio” Fernandez was approached by the art director of Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Cedric Gibbons, with a most unusual request. Would Senor Fernandez be willing to pose naked for Gibbons’ current project - a golden statue of a knight holding a crusader’s sword?
Fernandez, not surprisingly, was reluctant, but finally relented.

And thus came into existence the greatest prize in all of moviedom - the Oscar statuette.

Known officially as the Academy Award of Merit, with various apocryphal stories explaining the nickname ‘Oscar’ in circulation, Gibbons’s knight stands atop a reel of film with five spokes representing the original five branches of the Academy, and come Feb 22, a select few individuals from all over the world will be granted the chance to take home one (or more) of the golden figures.

While the origins of the moniker Oscar aren’t clear, a popular story has it that upon seeing the trophy for the first time, Academy librarian (and eventual executive director) Margaret Herrick remarked that it resembled her Uncle Oscar, says the official site of the Oscars.

The Academy didn’t adopt the nickname officially until 1939, but it was widely known enough by 1934 that Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky used it in a piece referring to Katharine Hepburn’s first Best Actress win.

This year’s ceremony at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles will air from 6.30 a.m. IST Monday.

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