The Oscar statuettes handed out at the annual Academy Awards ceremony each stand 13.5 inches (34.3 cm) high and weigh 8.5 pounds (3.9 kg). The core of the coveted award is made of bronze, and its glamorous sheen comes from a coating of 24-karat gold. Each statuette costs about $400 USD to manufacture. However, today’s movie stars don’t actually own their Oscars. They are essentially on loan from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Since 1950, Oscar winners “have no right whatsoever” to the statuette, according to the Academy’s rules. And in a key 2015 court ruling, it was determined that an Oscar can’t be be sold without the owner (or his or her heirs) first offering to sell it back to the Academy for a token price of $1 USD.
Oscar's supporting cast:
- For three years during World War II, Oscar winners received painted plaster statues, because metal supplies were scarce. The winners got metallic replacements after the war ended.
- Although the statuette is officially called the "Academy Award of Merit," it has been fondly known as Oscar since the 1930s; various stories claim that the "Oscar" name originated either with actress Bette Davis or Academy librarian Margaret Herrick.
- The statuettes awarded before the 1950 rule change can legally be sold, and some 150 early Oscars have been auctioned off. Michael Jackson reportedly purchased the Best Picture Oscar for Gone With the Wind (1939) for $1.54 million USD.