And the Os­car goes to . . .

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today -

THIS time last week we were all atrem­ble with ex­cite­ment won­der­ing who would win the prized Os­cars.

Well, I wasn’t but I do love all the trivia associated with the awards.

The Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences was con­ceived at a ban­quet in the Crys­tal Ball­room of the Bilt­more Ho­tel on Jan­uary 11, 1927, where le­gend has it that the orig­i­nal sketch of the Os­car stat­uette was drawn on a Bilt­more nap­kin.

Thirty-six guests were present in­clud­ing Louis B. Mayer, Mary Pick­ford, Sid Grau­man, Jesse Lasky, Ge­orge Co­hen, Ce­cil B. DeMille, Dou­glas Fair­banks, Cedric Gib­bons and Irv­ing Thal­berg. The artis­tic di­rec­tor Cedric Gib­bons is cred­ited with the de­sign of Os­car.

Ge­orge Stan­ley, a Los An­ge­les sculp­tor, cre­ated the statue, which soon came to be known as Os­car.

The Os­car stat­uette is of a knight hold­ing a cru­sader’s sword, stand­ing on a reel of film with five spokes, rep­re­sent­ing the orig­i­nal branches of the academy: ac­tors, writers, direc­tors, pro­duc­ers and tech­ni­cians.

One pop­u­lar the­ory about Os­car’s name in­volves then academy librarian and fu­ture ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Mar­garet Her­rick, who upon see­ing the stat­uette sitting on a ta­ble ex­claimed: ‘‘ It looks just like my Un­cle Os­car!"

Bette Davis claimed that she named the award af­ter her ex-hus­band, Har­mon Os­car Nel­son. This is con­tested.

The first awards were held on May 16, 1929, at the Hol­ly­wood Roo­sevelt Ho­tel. The Os­car name was first used in 1934 by Hol­ly­wood colum­nist Sid­ney Skol­sky dis­cussing Kathryn Hep­burn’s win.

The Os­car is 34.3cm and 3.8kg. It was orig­i­nally made of gold-plated bronze. Now each statue is made of a com­pos­ite metal called bri­tan­nium ( 93% tin, 5% an­ti­mony, 2% cop­per) heated to its liq­uid state and cast in a mold.

Af­ter some sand­ing and buff­ing, an elec­tro­plat­ing process cov­ers it in 24-carat gold. Os­car’s base is solid brass plated with black nickel.

Dur­ing World War II, when the US ex­pe­ri­enced a metal short­age, the stat­uettes were made of painted plas­ter. Re­cip­i­ents could ex­change them af­ter the war.

Only three re­fusals have oc­curred – screen­writer Dud­ley Ni­chols ( 1935, who re­fused to ac­cept an Os­car at a time when the Writers Guild was on strike against the movie stu­dios), and ac­tors Ge­orge C. Scott ( 1970) and Mar­lon Brando ( 1972). The Os­cars were first tele­cast in 1953 with Bob Hope as the mas­ter of cer­e­monies.

See you next week for the Ides of March and re­mem­ber to join me on ABC Ra­dio on Wed­nes­day nights from 8pm.

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