Why is it called the Oscars?

The answer isn’t as clear as you’d expect

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is seen as the most prestigious award ceremony in the film industry.

Since the first ceremony was held in 1929, the Oscars has become the landmark occasion to celebrate the best films of the past year.

While the statuette is officially called the Academy Award Of Merit, it’s primarily known today by its nickname, Oscar – which has been adopted as the name of the event itself.

Why are the Oscars called the Oscars?


The Oscars (Picture: Getty)

Surprisingly, the origins of the nickname aren’t entirely clear. There’s multiple theories however around the Oscar moniker.

The one referenced on the Oscars website is the story of Academy librarian Margaret Herrick, who is said to have remarked that the award resembled her Uncle Oscar. She later became executive director at the Academy in 1945.

Others have claimed to have used the name prior to this instance. Hollywood columnist Sidney Skoklsky had published articles using the name “Oscar” for the Academy Awards since March 1934, which was the first time it had been used in print.

He wrote about the reasons behind using the name in his 1975 book Don’t Get Me Wrong – I Love Hollywood. “It was my first Academy Awards night when I gave the gold statuette a name. I wasn’t trying to make it legitimate,” Skoklsky wrote. “The snobbery of that particular Academy Award annoyed me. I wanted to make the gold statuette human.”

The third prevalent theory comes from Bette Davis, who claims she named it Oscar because the rear end of the statue reminded her of her first husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson, when he got out of the shower in the morning.


You can check out a video from the Academy Originals’ YouTube channel explaining all the theories below.

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