Who is Oscar?

Movie Reel

On Sunday February 24th, the Oscars will be handed out to those who have achieved success in film.   I started wondering why winners of the Academy Awards are given this strange gold statue of a man? Why is the statue called “Oscar?”  

The award is officially called the “Academy Award of Merit.” Since 1929, over 3,000 people have won an Oscar.

No one really knows why or how “Oscar” got his name. There are two theories.  According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website, Librarian Margaret Herrick remarked that the statue looked like her Uncle Oscar.

Another theory is that journalist Sidney Skolsky called the statue “Oscar” when Katharine Hepburn won Best Actress in 1934.  

The one thing that is fact, is that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started calling the Statue “Oscar” in 1939.

Here are some facts I learned in my research about this prestigious award:

Oscar

The statue is not solid gold.  It is bronze and only plated with 24-karat gold.  

MGM art director Cedric Gibbons is the one who designed the statue to resemble a knight.  To this day statues are made holding a sword as a tribute to Gibbons original design.

Each statue is 13½ inches tall.  They are heavier than I imagined as well, weighing 8 ½ pounds.

Due to a metal shortage during WWII, Oscars were made out of plaster.  

One “Oscar” takes 10 days to make.  

Today, the Polich Tallix art foundry in New York is the one who makes the statues.  They were made in Chicago by R.S. Owens until 2016.

The winners are kept private.  The plaques are not affixed to the statue until after the award ceremony to ensure that word does not get out about a winner.

It is very popular today for stars to kiss Oscar when they win him.  Did you know that the first star to give “Oscar” a kiss was Audrey Hepburn in 1954?

If you are interested in what movies and stars have been nominated for this year, you can click here for a full list.      

Happy Viewing 🙂

Mary Poppins Returns

There is a lot of hype surrounding the new Disney movie Mary Poppins Returns, which is to be released December 19, 2018, and the Aurora Public Library District is here to help you jump on the bandwagon! Keep a lookout for an Author Biographies blog featuring P.L. Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins and all of her adventures. In the meantime, check out Saving Mr. Banks to hold you over.

The first book in the Mary Poppins universe, Mary Poppins, was released in 1934, with subsequent adventures periodically released all the way up to 1988. We have several of these titles available both digitally and physically to check out.

Mary Poppins Returns is actually intended to be a sequel to the popular 1964 film Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. And while the film is similar to the books created by Travers, it has become its own entity entirely. In other words, you don’t have to read the books in order to watch and understand the film, which is definitely still one of my favorites. The sequel promises to deliver all of the magical realism elements present in the original, as well as new musical numbers. I have high hopes that this new movie will be able to bridge the gap between generations; maybe it will even become as iconic as the childhood staple that is the original!

Starring Emily Blunt as the titular Mary Poppins, and including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep, Mary Poppins Returns has been anticipated since its announcement in September 2015. Dan Van Dyke is also going to make an appearance in the new film, so we can only hope that the Queen of Genovia herself (Julie Andrews) will follow suit!

Watch the trailer here.

Can you tell I’m more than a little excited? It’s bound to be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson’s book, A Walk in the Woods, was made into a movie this past year.

a walk in the woods movie

A walk in the woods dvd

The movie, which you can borrow from the library as well as the book, is based off of author Bill Bryson’s actual life events of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Robert Redford portrays the author in this humorous movie.

I’ve actually read the book and watched the movie and they were both laugh out loud funny. He enlists his friend Katz, played by Nick Nolte, to be his companion on the trail. Having no prior backpacking experience and not knowing what they were getting into is what made this movie completely relate-able to me.

My husband and I went backpacking a few years ago in the Smokey Mountains, we were very unprepared and with high expectations. Although it was interesting, it was very, very hard work. We had only gone for 4 days and 3 nights instead of the several months on the trail as Bill and Katz did in the story. Because of my trip, some of the things they went through and experienced…I knew exactly what they were thinking and feeling. It’s one thing to talk about backpacking…but it’s quite another to actually go through with it.

My husband and I were very close to the Appalachian Trail, also known as the AT, and had originally put it on our hiking agenda. But by our 3rd day, when it was time to go to the AT, we decided that we had maybe been a tad enthusiastic when we had made our agenda and stuck to a closer proximity. Hiking a trail to your next campsite that was only 7 miles away, seemed like it would be an easy feat…however, road miles and up-hill-all-the-way-on-a-mountain miles are quite different.

It was an eye-opening experience and also a great feeling of accomplishment. It was cold, snowy and not at all what I had expected but so worth it at the same time. We went to celebrate with a night in Gatlinburg when we had finished our 20-mile hike. I’m sure the locals had us pegged as hikers since we were walking bent over with a been-on-the-trail-awhile stagger. I feel lucky to have had the experience and my husband and I made a great team, which is very important to have.

a-walk-in-the-woods-book-cover

A Walk in the Woods book

If you want a taste of the backpacking experience without actually stepping foot on the trail or if you want maybe a little motivation, read this book or watch the movie, it will definitely be worth your time.