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Oscars 2022: How much is the Academy Award prize worth?

One of the sculptors who designed the statue reportedly modeled it after Mexican model and actor Emilio “El Indio” Fernández.

March 27, 2022 / 01:42 PM IST
An Oscars statue is pictured at the Oscar Week: Makeup and Hairstyling, at the Samuel Goldwyn theater in Beverly Hills, California on March 26, 2022.

An Oscars statue is pictured at the Oscar Week: Makeup and Hairstyling, at the Samuel Goldwyn theater in Beverly Hills, California on March 26, 2022.

Did you ever wonder how much Hollywood's favourite golden man was worth? The "Oscars" may look like they are moulded in gold, but that golden glow is only skin deep.

The statue, which stands 13.5 inches tall and weighs almost 4 kg, was first made in bronze and plated with gold. Now, however, the statues are made in metal and are gold plated.

A 2017 video produced by Time Inc.’s personal finance company, Coinage, stated that  the cost of making an Oscar statuette is around $400.

But, if someone were to sell it? How much would it fetch? Well, according to the Academy, only $1. The regulations state that any Oscar awarded after 1950 cannot be sold by its recipient or his or her heirs without first offering to sell it back to the Academy for $1.

There  are, however, those who used the loophole to make a tidy profit by selling Oscar statues from before 1950. An undisclosed buyer bought Orson Welles’ best original screenplay Oscar for Citizen Kane at an auction in 2011. He paid $861,542 or almost Rs 6.5 crore for it.


Welles had believed he lost the Oscar for decades, but it resurfaced in 1994. After a custody battle, it was awarded to his daughter, Beatrice, after which the statue found its way to the auction.

Why is the Academy Award prize called "Oscar"?

Although it made its debut as a knight figure in 1929, it was only in 1939 that the Academy finalised "Oscars" as the name for their awards. Here's how popular lore traces the origin of the name.

The Oscar was first officially named the Academy Award of Merit and one of the Academy’s founding members, MGM art director Cedric Gibbons, had taken up the task to draw a sketch of the statue. He first drew a knight holding a sword and standing on a reel of film with spokes representing the five branches of the Academy -- actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.

In 1928, collaborating sculptor George Stanley redesigned the statue and improved the knight figure. He reportedly modeled it after Mexican model and actor Emilio “El Indio” Fernández.

When Academy librarian and eventual executive director Margaret Herrick saw the reworked statue, she thought it resembled her Uncle Oscar.

Later, in 1934, American writer Sidney Skolsky used the name in his Hollywood column to describe Katharine Hepburn’s first best actress win which made the name popular and the Academy adopted it in 1939.

Oscars 2022 is scheduled to begin at 5:30 am on Monday.


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Moneycontrol News
first published: Mar 27, 2022 01:02 pm
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