The Interesting Story Behind Why the Academy Awards Is Called “the Oscars”

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[MUSIC] Coinage. Life, well spent. Presented by Geico. Glitz, glam, emotional speeches, little gold men, it could only be Hollywood's biggest night, The Oscars. Wouldn't it be amazing to attend the show? Well, good luck with that. Tickets to the Academy Awards aren't sold to the public. Studios by op the seats in the Dolby Theater for the star studded event. Nosebleed seats reportedly run $150, while orchestra spots sell for $750. So if you're not in the cast and crew of La La Land, or hosting like Jimmy Kimmel, you've got to be really well connected to score a seat. Let's say you do nab a golden ticket to the event, because your sister's best friends cousin went to elementary school with Ryan Gosling. Time to get dressed. You can't show up looking drap, if you spring for a stylist, set aside between $500- $3000. Aliases borrow designer does for free. but you're not Emma Stone, you have to shout some hefty cash to buy or rent that goes decor to your dress or dapper tux. Enclose only half a battle. A top hairstylist starts at $150 and celebrity worthy makeup artists will run between $600 and $1,700. Finally, stars arrive in style. Limousine services can charge anywhere between $100 and $400 per hour with an eight hour minimum for Oscars night. Whew, a night at the Oscars can really add up. If the A listers had to pay their own way, that's easily $10,000 To be a part of Hollywood magic for one night only. Coinage. Life, well spent. Presented by Geico.

The Oscars and the Academy Awards have long been interchangeable names for the annual award ceremony honoring the year’s best in film, but they haven’t always been. In fact, the Academy Awards didn’t adopt their nickname until 1939, 10 years after their first award show.

So why do they call the statuette an Oscar? The origins of the term aren’t exactly clear, but the Academy has a theory as to how the name came to be. One popular story is that Margaret Herrick, an Academy librarian (and later executive director of the organization), saw the gilded trophy and remarked that it looked like her Uncle Oscar.

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The nickname stuck—unofficially at first—and Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky used the term in a story referring to Katharine Hepburn’s Best Actress win back in 1934. Five years later, the name was formally adopted by the Academy, and that's why they call it an Oscar.

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Since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences began in 1927, the group has given out 3,048 awards. The very first Oscar statuettes were sculpted by George Stanley, showing “a knight standing on a reel of film gripping a crusader’s sword.” The reel has five spokes, representing the five original branches of the Academy: actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers. Standing at 13.5 inches tall and weighing 8.5 pounds, it’s heavier than you’d think.

The statues are made of solid bronze and plated in 24-karat gold—except during World War II’s metal shortage, when they were made of painted plaster. Between their hefty weight and golden plate, they make quite the mantel decoration for Hollywood’s finest. So who has the most Oscars? That would be Walt Disney, who earned a record 26 Academy Awards, including 22 technical wins and four honorary awards.

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As for actors, the record is held by Katharine Hepburn, who has four wins. Hepburn took home Academy Awards for 1933’s Morning Glory, 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, 1968’s The Lion in Winter, and 1981’s On Golden Pond.

Her record, though, is in jeopardy of being tied this year. Both Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis have won three Oscars each, and are nominated again this year.

Tune in to the 2018 Academy Awards March 4 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC to see if they make history.

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