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The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. Awarded annually by the since in , it recognizes excellence in many aspects of making, such as acting, directing and screenwriting.
Academy Awards are granted by the (AMPAS), a professional honorary organization, which as of had a voting membership of 5,830. Actors (with a membership of 1,311) make up the largest voting bloc at 22%. The votes have been tabulated and certified by the auditing firm and its predecessor for 72 years, since close to the awards' inception. They are intended for the films and persons the Academy believes have the top achievements of the year.
Most recently, the ceremony took place on , , at the in , and was produced by and hosted by .
The official name of the Oscar is the Academy Award of Merit. Made of -plated on a black metal base, it is 13.5(34 cm) tall, weighs 8.5(3.85and depicts a (rendered in style) holding a standing on a of film with five spokes, signifying the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers and Technicians.’s art director , one of the original Academy members, supervised the design of the award by printing the design on scroll. Then sculptor George Stanley sculpted Gibbons' design in clay, and Alex Smith cast the statue in tin and copper and then gold-plated it over a composition of 92.5 percent and 7.5 percent (Levy 2003). The only addition to the Oscar since it was created is a minor streamlining of the base (Levy 2003). Approximately fifty Oscars are made each year in by the manufacturer, . If they fail to meet strict quality control standards, the statuettes are cut in half and melted down.
The root of the name "Oscar" is contested. One biography of claims that she named the Oscar after her first husband, bandleader Harmon Oscar Nelson. Another claimed origin is that of the Academy’s Executive Secretary, , who first saw the award in 1931 and made reference of the statuette reminding her of her Uncle Oscar (Levy 2003). Columnist Sidney Skolsky was present during Herrick’s naming and seized the name in his byline, "Employees have affectionately dubbed their famous statuette 'Oscar'" (Levy 2003). Both Oscar and Academy Award are registered trademarks of the Academy, fiercely protected through litigation and threats thereof.
Ownership of Oscar statuettes
Since 1950, the statuettes have been legally encumbered by the requirement that neither winners nor their heirs may sell the statuettes without first offering to sell them back to the Academy for $1. If a winner refuses to agree to this stipulation, then the Academy keeps the statuette. Academy Awards not protected by this agreement have been sold in public auctions and private deals for six-figure sums (Levy 2003).
This rule is highly controversial, since it implies that the winner doesn't own the award. The case of 's grandson trying to sell Todd's Oscar statuette illustrates that there are many who do not agree with this idea. When Todd's grandson attempted to sell Todd's Oscar statuette to a movie prop collector, the Academy won the legal battle by getting a permanent injunction. Although some Oscar sales transactions have been successful, the buyers have subsequently returned the statuettes to the Academy, which keeps them in its treasury.
Academy membership may be obtained by a competitive nomination (however, the nominee must be invited to join) or a member may submit a name. Additionally, an Academy Award winner who is not yet a member, automatically gains entry into the Academy. The Academy does not publicly disclose its membership, although past press releases have announced the names of those who have been invited to join. If a person not yet a member is nominated in more than one category in a single year, he/she must choose which branch to join when he/she accepts membership.