The history behind the Golden Man

It was in 1929 that the very first Oscar was presented to Emil Jennings by the newly formed Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. When he was handed the very first gold statue that is now an icon synonymous with the silver screen would he have thought that over 85 years later they would be one of the most widely coveted awards in the motion picture industry? Emil Jennings was awarded his Oscar for Best Actor due to his stand out performances in “The Last Command” and “The Ways of All Flesh”, both of which were silent movies so chi social expressions must have been quite something!

The award itself goes by the official name, Academy Award of Merit, but got its more well-known moniker, Oscar, so the story goes, when Margaret Herrick, who would later go on to become Executive Director of the organisation, commented upon seeing the first statue that it looked just like her Uncle Oscar. The Oscar Statuette was created in the image of a knight holding a sword atop a reel of film and stands 13.5 inches tall and weighs in at 8.5 pounds. The statuettes are cast in bronze and then plated in 24K Gold and it currently takes 3 months to make 50 of the statuettes. During World War II the statues were actually made from plaster and painted gold because of metal shortages for 3 years. When the war was over all the recipients were able to replace their awards with metal versions.

This year there will be 24 categories awarded. When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was first founded in 1927 they discussed the possibility of awards as a way of both celebrating and encouraging excellence and innovation in the filmmaking industry. Wanting to make sure the awards would not be limited to actors alone a decision was made to encompass all aspects of the movie making process int he awards. This commitment to the entire industry is why the Oscar statuettes stand on a 5 spoked film reel. Each spoke represents one of the 5 different branches of the Academy: Actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.

On March 4th, 2018 the 90th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and the red carpet was positively aglow with the best and brightest of the film industry. The nominations for the 24 categories was one of the most diverse ballots in the history of the Oscars. For the first time ever a woman was nominated for Best Cinematography: Rachel Morrison was nominated for her work on Mudbound and for the first time ever an African American won best Screenplay, huge congratulations to Jordan Peele for winning his first ever Oscar for Get Out.

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