The mysterious origins of Oscar: Who is the man behind the iconic statuette?

Representative image. Photo: Yavdat/

The FIFA World Cup trophy may be the costliest trophy in the world at around Rs 2 crore. However, The Oscar statuette is the most prestigious prize in the Hollywood. But who is the man depicted in the coveted figurine?

The 13.5-inch tall, golden-coloured statuette is one of the most recognized trophies in the world. Filmmakers from all over the world aspire to win the Oscar, which has been awarded annually since 1929, for their outstanding achievements in the industry.

Eminent art director Cedric Gibbons designed the Oscar statuette, and George Stanley sculptured it. But who is this Oscar? Who exactly is the man in the trophy? No exact answers are available. Several stories have been doing the rounds on how this statuette earned its moniker.

One such story is about Margaret Herrick, a librarian with the Oscar Award Academy, who went on to become its executive director later. Upon seeing the statuette, Margaret remarked that it bore a resemblance to his uncle Oscar. The story goes that her statement quickly caught up with those around and thus the trophy came to be known as ‘Oscar’.

Yet another story is about Bette Davis, a leading actress in Bollywood. As per this, Bette named the statuette after Harmon Oscar Nelson, her former husband and a famous musician.

Another theory that has wide acceptance is that the name Oscar was invented by Sidney Skolsky, a famous Hollywood columnist. Having associated with the Academy, Sidney used to write his columns as Oscar. Thus, Sydney is widely believed to have given the famed statuette its name.

Trophies first made an entry into human lives in connection with military successes. In the erstwhile Greek kingdom, it was a usual practice for the warriors who win wars to collect the arms in possession of rivals as trophies. The practice of awarding trophies for achievements in sports and cultural events is believed to have begun in the 16th century.

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