The Academy Awards are more than just a gold statue. Behind the
gold man are more than 6,000 members, 110 nominated films and 24
different categories. But even though that golden Oscar idol is
widely recognized and revered, many people still don’t know the
process that goes into deciding who will actually receive one.
The winners of this year’s Oscars, which are the awards handed
out by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, will be
announced this Sunday night at the 76th Annual Academy Awards.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was founded in
1927 in California and has members, over 6,000, representing 14
branches, which include actors, art directors, cinematographers,
directors and executives and more.
Becoming a member is a little rougher than getting into your
local country club. The Academy is a professional honorary
organization comprised mainly of people in the above fields. To
become a member, a person must be sponsored by at least two current
Academy members, according to Oscars.org.
The members of the Academy then make nominations for the Academy
Awards within their specific branch. For instance, cinematographers
nominate films for Best cinematography; actors nominate their peers
for Best Actors and so on.
For a film to be eligible for consideration, it must have a
first-run theatrical engagement during the calendar year.
After the nominees are announced, the entire Academy body votes
to decide who will say, “I would like to thank the Academy,” Sunday
It is the coveted award in the movie business but no one is
quite sure why or how the golden guy got its name. A popular story
has been that Academy librarian and eventual executive director,
Margaret Herrick, said that it resembled her Uncle Oscar, according
to Oscars.org. A reporter allegedly overheard her and helped brand
the golden guy. In any case, by the sixth Awards Presentation in
1934, Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky used the name in his
column in reference to Katharine Hepburn’s first Best Actress win.
The Academy itself didn’t use the nickname officially until
This year’s award ceremony is being held earlier than in year’s
prior. Before, the ceremony was held three weeks later in March but
academy directors made the call to move up the event in an effort
to shorten the Oscar race, which officially started after
nominations where announced in January.
Their reasoning to shorten the Oscar race was to level the
playing field between big-budget studio films, “LOTR: Return of the
King,” “Seabiscuit,” and smaller independent films, “Lost in
Translation” and “In America.” Smaller films cannot compete with
the multi-million dollar Oscar campaigns that bigger films have to
sway Academy members’ votes.
Academy Award Facts:
If “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” takes the
“precious” award of Best Picture, it would be the first time
fantasy film won (despite being nominated in 1977 for Best Picure,
“Star Wars” lost to “Annie Hall”).
Walt Disney is the all-time winner with 26 Academy Awards to his
name, including three Special Awards and the Irving G. Thalberg
The shortest Oscar ceremony in history was the first Oscars, in
1929. The awards portion of the evening lasted only about 15
minutes (shorter than some speeches take these days), since all the
winners had been announced three months earlier.
The longest awards in history was the 2001 awards which lasted
approximately 256 minutes, beating the previous record by about 16
Youngest performer to receive an Academy Award:
Shirley Temple is the youngest performer to receive an Academy
Award: 1934, Special Award; she was 6 years old.
Groucho Marx is the oldest man to win an Oscar: 1973, Honorary
Award; 83 years old.
“Midnight Cowboy” won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1979. It was
According to Robert Osborne’s “75 Years of the Oscar: The
Official History of the Academy Awards.”
Oscar’s height: 13 1/2 inches
Oscar’s weight: 8 1/2 pounds
Number of Oscars presented at Academy Awards shows or to winners
absent from show to date: 2,455
How many people it takes to make a statuette: 12
How long it takes to make a statuette: 20 hours
Oscar was designed by MGM’s art director, Cedric Gibbons, in
1928. The design has remained unchanged, except for getting a
higher pedistal in the 1940’s.
Oscars are made of britanium and gold-plated.
Approximately 50 Oscars are made each year in Chicago by the
manufacturer, R.S. Owens. If they don’t meet strict quality control
standards, the statuettes are immediately cut in half and melted
On March 10, 2000, 55 Academy Awards mysteriously vanished en
route from the Windy City to the City of Angels. Nine days later,
52 of the stolen statuettes were discovered next to a Dumpster in
the Koreatown section of Los Angeles.