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What You Probably Never Realized About Award Show Trophies

Reader's Digest.CA Logo By Carrie Bell of Reader's Digest.CA | Slide 1 of 12: Height: 13.5 inches

Weight: 8.5 pounds

Likely the most recognized trophy in the world, Hollywood's highest honor was first handed out in 1929, two years after the formation of the group that puts on the competition, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. MGM art director Cedric Gibbons envisioned a golden knight standing on a film reel and gripping a crusader's sword and sculptor George Stanley realized the concept in three dimensions. The reel has five spokes, one for each of the five original Academy branches (actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers). The origin of his widely-used nickname is unknown although one popular explanation is that the Academy librarian (and later executive director) Margaret Herrick exclaimed upon first seeing the heavy metal hunk that he reminded her of her uncle Oscar. It takes Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry in Walden, New York, three months to make 50 solid bronze statuettes and plate them in 24-karat gold and 3,140 of them have been given out over the course of 90 years. Not even World War II stopped Hollywood's biggest night from happening, although recipients received painted plaster tokens for three years thanks to the metal shortage. Once the fighting finished, the Academy allowed the placeholder prizes to be exchanged for the real thing. Find out all the insider secrets Hollywood insiders won't tell you about the Oscars.

The Academy Award

Height: 13.5 inches Weight: 8.5 pounds Likely the most recognized trophy in the world, Hollywood's highest honor was first handed out in 1929, two years after the formation of the group that puts on the competition, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. MGM art director Cedric Gibbons envisioned a golden knight standing on a film reel and gripping a crusader's sword and sculptor George Stanley realized the concept in three dimensions. The reel has five spokes, one for each of the five original Academy branches (actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers). The origin of his widely-used nickname is unknown although one popular explanation is that the Academy librarian (and later executive director) Margaret Herrick exclaimed upon first seeing the heavy metal hunk that he reminded her of her uncle Oscar. It takes Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry in Walden, New York, three months to make 50 solid bronze statuettes and plate them in 24-karat gold and 3,140 of them have been given out over the course of 90 years. Not even World War II stopped Hollywood's biggest night from happening, although recipients received painted plaster tokens for three years thanks to the metal shortage. Once the fighting finished, the Academy allowed the placeholder prizes to be exchanged for the real thing. Find out all the insider secrets Hollywood insiders won't tell you about the Oscars.
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