Monday 20 March 2017

Irishman Who Designed Oscar Statuette Had Eleven on His Mantel

Oscar statuette is a knight standing on a film reel and holding a sword courtesy

Born in 1893, Cedric Gibbons was an Irishman who made a name for himself in Hollywood.  He not only designed the Oscar statuette, but was nominated for thirty eight and brought home eleven.

Edith Head holds the record for most Oscars won by a woman (8) courtesy

Austin Cedric Gibbons, the son of an architect, was born in Dublin in 1893.  He studied at the Arts Students League of New York and was hired by MGM in 1924 as an art director and production designer.  Four years later, he helped found the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  In 1928, it was Gibbons who designed the most recognized award in the world, the statuette of a knight standing on a reel of film gripping a crusader's sword.  Oscar stands 13 1/2 inches tall and weighs 8 1/2 pounds, thanks to its solid bronze casting.  Legend has it that the statuette got its name when the Academy librarian, Margaret Herrick, commented that it looked like her Uncle Oscar.  In 1929, the first Academy Awards were held at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles where Janet Gaynor won a statuette for best actress and Emil Jannings for best actor.

1stOscars 1929.jpg

First Academy Awards ceremony in 1929 courtesy

Little did Gibbons know that one year after he designed the Oscar, he would be carrying the statuette home.  In fact, when his career was done, Gibbons' mantel would hold a record-breaking 11 Oscars, and he would be nominated for 38. Gibbons influenced the production of about 1500 films and had direct involvement in 150 films in Hollywood.  The art director won the Academy Award for the following movies:

  • The Bridge of St. Louis Rey (1929)
  • The Merry Widow (1934)
  • Pride and Prejudice (1940)
  • Blossoms in the Dust (1941)
  • Gaslight (1944)
  • The Yearling (1946)
  • Little Women (1949)
  • An American in Paris (1951)
  • The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
  • Julius Caesar (1953)
  • Somebody Up There Likes Me (1957)

Cedric Gibbons with his Oscars courtesy

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