1. The "Academy Award", also called "Oscar"

1.4. The golden statuette, the "Oscar"

The Academy which was organized in 1927 tried to create an award which should be given for special achievements in motion pictures. It was very important to the Academy to create a trophy, symbolizing the recognition of film achievement. The sculptor George Stanley created the statuette, a "figure of a knight standing on a reel of film, hands gripping a sword". The base of the statuette represented the Academy's five original branches: actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers. Since the first award banquet on May 16th, 1929, through the 71st "Academy Award's" presentation on March 21st, 1999, 2286 statuettes have been presented.
The official name of the "Oscar" statuette is "Academy Award of Merit". A nice story tells that Margaret Herrick said that this statuette looks like her uncle Oscar and so it got the nickname "Oscar". The columnist Sidney Skolsky may have used the name the first time officially. He was happy that the statuette got a name. On the one hand that fact made it easier to write about the statuette, on the other hand a name gave it an identity and made it special. The Academy has used that name officially since the ceremony 1939.
The "Oscars" were not always made of an alloy called Britannium. The first fifteen statuettes were made of gold-plated solid bronze. But then they decided to change the material and began to use an alloy called Britannium because it was easier to give the "Oscar" it's smooth finish. During the Second World War there was a metal shortage and so the statuettes were made of plaster. But all prize-winners of that time got metal awards after the war was finished.
Sometimes the "Oscar" has a different surface. A honorary Oscar can be a life membership, a scroll, a medal or a different designed trophy. Walt Disney, for example, received an "Oscar" and seven miniature statuettes for his famous film "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs". The "Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award" is a solid bronze head of Thalberg.
The "Oscar" itself has not been altered since his creation 1929. It is still 13 inches tall, weighs 8 pounds and the surface remained the same.