The American Film Institute celebrates America's 100 most inspiring movies in a three-hour CBS special AFI'S 100 Years... 100 Cheers, airing tonight at 8 pm/ET. Appearing in no fewer than seven films on the list — including Babes in Arms, Captains Courageous,
Question: I know the Oscar statuettes are about a foot tall and weigh 8 pounds, but what are they made of, and is it true that they got their name because someone said it looked like their Uncle Oscar? That sounds like a made-up story.
Answer: Last part first: The official story is indeed that Margaret Herrick, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' first librarian in 1931 and its executive director from 1943 to 1971 (and for whom the Academy's Los Angeles library, where I've done my share of research, is named), saw one of the statuettes (designed by MGM art director Cedric Gibbons for the first ceremony in 1929) on a desk and exclaimed that it looked just like her Uncle Oscar. Which is sort of alarming in that it implies that her uncle was a bald nudist with a thing for (perhaps compensatory) swords. Many people prefer the slightly ruder version in which Bette Davis sugge