The 94th edition of the Oscar Awards is just a few days away and with it the euphoria for the most important award within the seventh art in the world has generated great interest. However, many followers of the gala, which rewards the best of dramatic art and which is broadcast throughout the world, are unaware of its origin and why it is known as The Oscar.
To know the origin we have to go back to 1929, when at first, the prize did not have its own name. At that time, the US film industry referred to the award as: The Academy statuette, The golden trophy or Statuette of merit.
Around the creation there are many legends that are still present today; however, the version of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences itself found on its official website indicates that the person most responsible for emphasizing the awards that are held today was the then librarian of The Academy, Margaret Herrick.
Margaret Herrick earned her librarian’s degree from the University of Washington, and in 1929 she became senior librarian at the Yakima Public Library. In 1931 she began offering her services as a volunteer librarian to The Academy after marrying Donald Gledhill, who was the assistant to the executive secretary.
Later, in 1945, she would become executive director until 1971, some time after her promotion, she was in charge of baptizing the prestigious statuette as Oscar, stating that “He looked like his uncle Oscar.”
Since then, the Academy began to refer to the award in that way informally, it was until 1934 that the name became popular, when the renowned columnist, Sidney Skolsky used it in his column to talk about the “Best Actress” Award that had cropped, Katharine Hepburn. It would not be until 1939 when the Academy officially used the term The Oscar.
The person in charge of creating the first medals was the art director of Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), Cedric Gibbons, who designed a statuette of a knight standing on a film reel wielding a crusader’s sword. Later, the organizing committee turned to the sculptor of George Stanley to make the design in three dimensions, which remains to this day.
The Origin of the International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; and its first official celebrations.
The Academy, as it is currently known, has its origins on May 16, 1929, when the pioneers of the industry began to reward the quality of American cinematography. A couple of years earlier, in 1927, the International Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had been founded, under the initiative of MGM president Louis B. Mayer.
Two years later, in 1929, the first Academy Awards ceremony was held, at a gala in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. In that first edition, the winners were already known because they were announced three weeks in advance.
A year later, in 1930, the names were given at the time of the ceremony, although an advance list was leaked to the media for publication. That tradition met a fleeting fate when The Angeles Times published the names of the winners ahead of time.
For this reason, and following the current format of sealed envelopes that has been used since 1940, the 94th Oscars will be held next Sunday, March 27, 2022, from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, USA.