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Oscars: 7 things you didn't know about the statues

On Sunday night, the stars of the big screen came together for the 90th Oscars ceremony, as the world found out which films had won the famous gold statuettes this year.
Did you know that nobody actually knows why they are called ‘Oscars’ though. Rumour has it that when a woman called Margaret Herrick, who worked for the organisation which gives out the awards, first saw the little statue, she said that it looked like her Uncle Oscar – and the name stuck! It was officially adopted in 1939.
Oscar statuetteGetty Images
So, that's why we call them ‘Oscars’. But the official name of the award is actually an Academy Award of Merit. In this photo we can see some of Sunday night's winners posing with their Academy Awards of Merit (that's a bit of a mouthful isn't it - let's stick to Oscar!)
2018 Oscar winnersReuters
Despite what it might look like, the statuettes - pictured here backstage - are not actually solid gold. They are really made out of bronze and then plated in 24-carat gold instead.
Oscar statuettesGetty Images
It may not come as a surprise to learn that they are not the quickest things to make. It takes 3 months just to make 50 of them, so we imagine the people who make the awards have been busy for quite some time to get so many awards ready for Sunday. Here is screenwriter Rachel Shenton and director Chris Overton with their Oscars for Best Live Action Short Film, which they won at the weekend for their film The Silent Child starring 6-year-old Maisie Sly.
Screenwriter Rachel Shenton and director Chris OvertonReuters
So how big actually are they? Well, each Oscar statuette is in fact just under 35cm tall and weighs almost 4kg, which is about the same as a cat. Can you imagine carrying Fluffy around with you all evening?! That's quite heavy!
People holding Oscar statuettesGetty Images
This year was the 90th Oscars, so the awards have been going for a long time. During World War II, though, there was a metal shortage, so the statuettes were actually made of painted plaster for 3 years. The people who won them during those years were able to swap them after the war for metal ones.
The Oscars this yearReuters
Finally, what does the statuette actually represent? Well, it has a film reel on it (which makes sense given what the awards are for!). But this film reel has five spokes for a very special reason. They in fact represent the original five branches of the Academy, which gives out the awards – actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.
Person holding an OscarGetty Images