Oscar tidbits

Oklahoman Published: January 23, 2009

Born in 1928, the Academy Award of Merit, which we know as "the Oscar," depicts a knight holding a crusader's sword, standing on a reel of film with five spokes, signifying the original branches of the Academy: actors, writers, directors, producers and technicians.

Weighs 8.5 pounds and stands 13.5 inches tall.

The first statuette was cast in bronze plated with 24-karat gold. Bronze has been abandoned in favor of an alloy called Britannia.

Who came up with the name Oscar? One popular story is that academy librarian Margaret Herrick said the statuette resembled her Uncle Oscar. The academy didn't use the nickname officially until 1939, though its first documented mention was in the sixth awards presentation in 1934.

Between 1942 and 1944, Oscars were made of plaster, to be traded in for golden statuettes after the war.

In 1949, Academy Award statuettes became numbered, starting with No. 501. Each Oscar statuette wears his serial number behind his heels.

Since 1995, the manufacturer has repaired more than 160 statuettes.