It doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it? It may be the official name, but the coveted gold statuette is better known by its nickname, Oscar. There is little consensus where the nickname originated, although many have tried to take credit. Bette Davis claims that after winning the Academy Award for Dangerous in 1936, she remarked that the statue’s naked butt reminded her of her husband’s, Harmon Oscar Nelson Jr., after getting out of the shower. The most popular story has been that Academy librarian, Margaret Herrick, thought it resembled her Uncle Oscar and the Academy staff began referring to it as Oscar. Wherever it came from, once Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky used the name in his column in 1934 in reference to Katharine Hepburn’s first Best Actress win, the nickname was here to stay with the Academy officially adopting it in 1939.
The first Academy Awards took place on May 16, 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. Following a ceremony of less than 15 minutes, the remainder of the evening was devoted to dining and small talk. Only 15 statues were given out that year and acceptance speeches were probably shorter.
The ceremonies were broadcast on the radio until 1953 when they were first televised. The pre-ceremony red carpet became a part of the broadcast in 1961, but it wasn’t until 1964 that the carpet and ceremony were both broadcast in glorious color. I suspect the fascination with Oscar fashion took off at that point. When it comes to the Oscars, I’m thinking fashion, style and glamour. Looking at the recent Vogue article, The 48 Best Oscars Red Carpet Dresses of All Time, I remembered several of these celebrated dresses and can see why they were chosen. I then selected my three favorites from their narrowed down list. I tend to love vintage and old Hollywood charm.
I also came across the list of all the Best Picture winners through the years. It is quite a walk through history. I checked out the year I was born, 1955. For fun, I have added On the Waterfront to my must watch list of films to watch this year.
Will you be watching the Oscars tonight? The Oscar statuette is the most recognized award in the world with millions tuning in globally to see who goes home with the coveted prize. In recent years, fewer and fewer people are tuning into the big event. Are we too inundated with award shows? The Golden Globes, People Choice Awards, Critics Choice Awards and numerous others have all been televised in recent years. Or did Billy Crystal nail it when he joked, “Nothing takes the sting off the world’s economic problems like watching millionaires present each other golden statues!”
I won’t be watching tonight, but I will check out the list tomorrow morning, as well as the finery. I’m hoping to see some inspired ensembles.
C’est la vie.