Cinema, the powerful invention of the moving image, has given rise to an art form. Indeed, this form of artistic and creative expression has, from the very beginning, captivated mankind and crossed all cultures. As a powerful tool for enjoyment but also for scientific and educational dissemination, film can also be therapeutic. Many prizes have been awarded throughout history to this art form. But, without detracting from any other, the Academy Awards of Merit, better known as the Oscars, are currently considered one of the most famous awards in the film industry
Perhaps this is due to the glamour that they still convey, the breathtaking glamour that characterises Hollywood and that continues to hold a great fascination for audiences all over the world. It is a fact, the night of the Oscars continues to be the night when the world looks at Hollywood. This 2021 marks the 93rd edition of the awards ceremony
The origin of the Oscars
The Oscars date back to 1927, when the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences agreed to award an annual prize for merit, quality and talent. Initially, only five categories were to be awarded: acting, directing, production, technique and screenplay. Today, the Oscars are awarded in 25 categories. The first Oscar ceremony was held in 1929 and consisted of a small dinner at which there were no surprises as the winners had been announced three months in advance. In 1953 it was televised for the first time in the United States and Canada
To honour excellence in film, the Academy chose as its award a statuette depicting a knight with a crossed sword standing on a film reel with five spokes (the five categories that were originally to be awarded). The sword symbolises protection for the welfare and advancement of the industry. This award, probably the most famous and coveted in the world, was originally made of solid bronze and plated with 25-carat gold. It is now made of an alloy called Britannia metal (93% tin, 5% antimony and 2% copper). It weighs approximately 4kg and measures about 34cm. The statuette was designed by Cedrid Gibbons, a director of Metro Goldwin Mayer Studios (MGM). Sculptor George Stanley was responsible for giving the figure its three-dimensional form.
The Oscar has always maintained its design, although it has undergone some changes throughout history. Between 1942 and 1944, during wartime, the statuettes were exceptionally made of plaster.
The origin of the name Oscar
It is still a mystery why the Academy chose this name for the award. One of the most likely hypotheses is that of librarian and executive director Margaret Herrick who, on seeing the statuette for the first time, commented that it “looked like her uncle Oscar”. The name came to fame in 1934 when columnist Sidney Skolsky used it in discussing the Best Actress award for Katherine Hepburn. However, the Academy did not officially use the nickname until 1939.
The films with the most Oscars in history
In 1959 the film Ben-Hur made history by winning 11 Oscars, making it the most Oscar-winning film in history to date. The film, considered the most epic of epic films, is a remake of a 1925 silent film. Ben-Hur, directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston, held this privilege until 1997, when it was equalled numerically in awards by James Cameron’s stunning version of Titanic. The blockbuster also won 11 Oscars. In 2003, director Peter Jackson again equalled the number of Oscars with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. These three films are, to date, the most awarded films in the history of cinema with these coveted Oscars.
Films with the most Oscars in the 5 main categories
If three are the most awarded films in the history of cinema, three are also the only three films that have managed to become “Big Five” winners. This term refers to those films that, regardless of the awards they were nominated for, managed to triumph in the five main Oscar categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Actor and Best Screenplay (either adapted or original). So far only three films in the history of the Oscars have achieved this feat It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Milos Forman, 1975) and Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991)
Most recent Oscar winners for Best Picture
Oscars: the magic of live performances
Marketing or not, the truth is that the Oscars have left some of the most memorable and moving moments in our memory. Beautiful and vindictive speeches, moving tributes, impromptu appearances on stage and sublime musical performances. Improvised laughter and tears. The contagious emotion and joy of Roberto Benigni, jumping into the seats to receive his Oscar for the acclaimed Life is Beautiful, will always be engraved in the memory of the audience. It will also be hard to forget the quintessential Oscar mistake.
In 2017, a misguided Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty incorrectly announced La La Land as that year’s Best Picture winner. With the whole team celebrating on stage, the mistake was soon discovered. The real winner of the Oscar for Best Picture was Moonlight. And even the purest Hollywood glamour has its moments. It’s a live thing. In any case, these awards are another excuse to enjoy cinema. To dream of cinema. With cinema, which cures
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