It's the Oscars! Who is Oscar?

It's that time of the year: Sunday February 26th is the Oscars! The 89th Academy Awards hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

I've watched the Oscars ceremony since I was a little girl. I loved star gazing at the celebrities on the red carpet and I gushed at their speeches. I loved the tribute to the men and women of the industry that passed away, and I eagerly tried to guess the winners of Best Picture, Actor in a leading Role, and Best Actress. As a writer, I was fascinated by the Best Screenplay categories. But at not one time, did I ask the question, why is it called the Oscars? Who is Oscar? Do you know?

Surely, someone from 89 years ago, knows the origin, right? Hmmm... it doesn't appear definitive. There are two popular theories, one is that an Academy librarian (and eventual executive director) Margaret Herrick remarked that it resembled her Uncle Oscar. Really? The other theory is Bette Davis thinking the statue resembled her husband (and the part was the backside). From there it goes to a reporter (Sidney Skolsky) who used it in an article and Walt Disney repeating it when he accepted the award.

Regardless of origin, the official name is now, The Oscar's and over 3000 of them have been awarded. The solid bronze Oscar plated in 24K gold stands 13½ inches tall and weighs in at an 8½ pounds.

The last few years, I was lucky enough to watch the Oscars with my mother and husband in Arizona, and we would pop the popcorn, throw some dollar bills in a hat and secretly complete an Oscar ballot--picking a winner in each category. At the end, the person with the most correct guesses, won the cash.

Just like sports, it's fun to have a little wager on the winners. If you would like to try you own Oscar game, here is a link to a printable ballot. Print it out for your friends and family, cast your votes, and sit back and see who is the best at predicting the winners.

You can also ask them if they know, why it's called the Oscars?

What was nominated for Best Picture? Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight all secured Best Picture nominations. The nominees for Actor in a Leading Role include Casey Affleck, Andrew Garfield, Ryan Gosling, Viggo Mortensen and Denzel Washington. For Actress in a Leading Role, Isabelle Huppert, Ruth Negga, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone and Meryl Streep were nominated.

Click here for the complete ballot and the list of nominations for other categories.

My short list? La La Land, Denzel Washington and Emma Stone...and for all you Arizona residents, Emma Stone is from Scottsdale, AZ.

Enjoy your Oscar Night, open up some champagne, cast your ballots and walk the red carpet!

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2016 Words, Travel, Film A. K. Smith author

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