How the ‘Oscars’ Got Its Name

The Academy Awards are the most prestigious awards show in entertainment, and every year people eagerly await to see who will be crowned Best Picture. But how the heck did the Academy Awards get the nickname, “Oscars?”

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Entertainment Weekly recently investigated the origins of the “Oscars” nickname, but unfortunately it’s not 100 percent clear. There are two theories about the nickname’s source.

The first is that Academy librarian Margaret Herrick saw the statue and said it resembled her uncle, Oscar. She began referring to the statue as an “Oscar,” and since the award needed a nickname, it just stuck.

Another theory is that Bette Davis was the first person to refer to the statue as an Oscar, which she named after her husband Harmon Oscar Nelson Jr.

While we don’t know who officially made up the nickname, we do know who the first person to publicly acknowledge the award as an “Oscar.” In 1934, Walt Disney referred to the award as an Oscar while accepting one for his film The Three Little Pigs. A newspaper writer, Sidney Skolsky, then used the term “Oscar” while reporting on the ceremony, the first time the nickname appeared in print.

Perhaps due to Disney’s profile (he’s won 22 Oscars in his career, the most ever), the nickname stuck from that point on.

So while we may not know who actually first named it an Oscar, we can all thank Walt Disney for making it popular.

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