The Oscar is handed out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences every spring in Los Angeles. It is the premiere award for excellence in filmmaking. The statuette itself has become more famous than many of the films that it has honored.
The Oscar statue weighs 8.5 pounds and stands 13.5 inches tall. It is constructed of Britannia metal with gold plating, and the base is made of black metal.
The only exception to the Oscar's standard construction came during World War II, when the Oscars were made out of plaster as a gesture of support to the war effort. Metal Oscars were given to the winners after the war ended.
The figure on the Oscar is intended to be a knight, standing at attention and holding a sword. The Art Deco style in which it is rendered gives him extremely streamlined features.
The knight in the trophy is standing on top of a five-spooled movie reel. Each spool represents one of the five branches that constituted the original Academy: directing, producing, writing, acting and technical fields.
Several stories exist as to why the statue is named Oscar. The most famous entails Academy Executive Secretary Margaret Herrick, who claimed it looked like her Uncle Oscar.