The Oscars Were (Maybe) Named After a Celebrity's Butt

At least that's one of the origin stories about how this golden statue got its name....

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When we talk about the Oscars, we usually talk about the show, the nominees, and—of course—the recipients. But sometimes, it's interesting to talk about the literal Oscars themselves—as in all those little gold men everyone is vying to take home.

While we call the show "The Oscars" for short, its official name is actually "The Academy Awards." So how did the nickname come about? Hollywood lore points to no fewer than three people who have taken credit for it.


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Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky claimed he coined the name after he got tired of writing "the gold statue of the academy" over and over again in his columns. He said he got the name "Oscar" from an old vaudeville joke.

Margaret Herrick

Margaret Herrick, former Academy librarian and later director, claimed she named the statue Oscar after an uncle of hers.

Bette Davis


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Finally, Hollywood legend Bette Davis claimed she nicknamed the award because its butt (no joke) reminded her of her husband's when he got out of the shower. At the time, Davis was married to musician Harmon Nelson, whose full name was Harmon Oscar Nelson Jr.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the nickname came about around 1935, or roughly during the seventh or eighth Academy Awards. #TheMoreYouKnow

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Kayleigh Roberts
Weekend Editor

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.