The Oscar, or “Golden Man,” is often viewed as the most recognizable and most famous award given to the best filmmaker each year. However, what actually makes up this golden man, and how much gold is there in it?
The name came from Uncle Oscar
The Oscars, or American Academy of Film Awards, have been awarded for the best films since 1929. The shape, which has been unchanged ever since, was designed by Cedric Diggons, an Irish film decorator who assigned the final finishing touch to the American sculptor George Stanley.
You might have noticed, the known prize represents a golden knight holding a sword and standing on a roll of film. The roll of film is representing actors, directors, producers, technicians and screenwriters, and the sword represents a strong defence of the well-being of the film industry.
But why is the name of the award Oscar? There are various legends about it, but Margaret Herrick, the librarian and later CEO of the American Film Academy at the time, said that the figure reminded her of her own uncle, who was also named Oscar.
Although the nickname was not adopted by the American Film Academy for many years in the early times, the Oscar became an “official” title in 1939. Especially considering that since 1934 it was already known to everyone as Oscar and the name was already used in the press.
Is it really all about gold?
Since 2016, Oscar men have been made in Brooklyn, where their impeccable appearance is taken care of by the Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry. Although the number of Oscars to be awarded is never certain until the last minute, there are around fifty 33.9-centimetre and 3.9-kilogram pieces produced every year.
But back to the key question: what are these Oscars made of? Although the golden glow of a man could indicate that it is gold, it is not – Oscars are made of strong bronze and then covered with 24-carat gold.
Gold plating is under the keen eye of Epner Technology employees and is a multi-step process in which the first layer applied from bronze to man is not gold but copper. This is followed by a layer of nickel and finally a shiny and final layer of gold.
By the way, when during the Second World War the difficulties of the Oscars were caused by the lack of metal in the country, it was temporarily decided to start making them from painted plaster. Later, the pre-war situation was restored and the golden men regained their original content and appearance.
But how much could an Oscar be worth? Although there is speculation here and there, there is a single and exhaustive answer – it is invaluable. An Oscar means more to a filmmaker than the amount it takes to make it. It is a testament to the golden talent and the work involved in developing it.