The 88th Academy Awards is over, and everyone all over the world seems more or less pleased with the results. What with Leo finally bagging his own award for best actor, and composer Ennio Morricone winning it for Best Original Score, this year has been pretty fulfilling. However, amidst all this, there’s one thing that always bugged me. Why is it commonly called The Oscars, rather than The Academy Awards? Both are one and the same. So why, or how did The Academy Awards actually come to be known as The Oscars?

why are the academy awards called oscars

Picture Source why are the academy awards called oscars

Well, there are quite a few conflicting theories, but the most popular one is that the name was coined by Academy Award librarian and future Director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Margaret Herrick. When Herrick saw the statuette for the first time, she remarked that it looked like her Uncle Oscar. Oscar Pierce was a wheat and fruit farmer, and actually Herrick’s cousin, who described him as a “Texas farmer of dignity, austerity, and commanding authority.” Reminded of him by the golden statuette, Herrick called it Oscar, which stuck, and employees started calling it by the name.

why are the academy awards called oscars

Picture Source  why are the academy awards called oscars

The design of the Oscar statuette, on the other hand, was thought up by MGM director Cedric Gibbons. He imagined it as a knight holding the hilt of a sword while standing on top of a film reel. Sculptor George Stanley was then hired to give shape to the idea. The first Academy Award’s ceremony was held on May 16, 1929, in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. However, the nickname “Oscar” wasn’t officially adopted by the Academy until 1939.

why are the academy awards called oscars

Picture Source why are the academy awards called oscars

The Academy also states that the five spokes on the film reel that the knight is standing on, signify the original five branches of the Academy: writers, directors, actors, producers, and technicians.

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