Reminder That Nobody Knows Why The Oscars Are Called The Oscars

It's a mystery!

The Oscars is a way catchier name than The Academy Awards – so much so that in 2013 the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences actually just rebranded them as “The Oscars”.

But there are still competing versions of how and who actually started calling the surprisingly heavy little gold dudes by their name.

It’s basically the pop culture history version of the drunken argument about why your friend Alex has the nickname “Gary”.

The most common – and semi-official – story is from 1931, the third year the awards were held: Academy librarian (and future Academy Director) Margaret Herrick said that the statue reminded of her of her Uncle Oscar (actually her cousin, but that’s her private business).

But Sidney Skolsky, the columnist said to have recorded that remark as an affectionate nickname given by Academy employees, later said he coined it himself – in his first column covering the Awards, which was in 1934. He said it was an old vaudeville joke, and he used it to try and take the fancy, famous award-winners down a notch.

Meanwhile, the Walt Disney Company claims that Disney himself was the first person to use it in public, and before that it was an insider-y industry nickname for the statue – and that was during his win for Three Little Pigs in 1934, so Skolsky can’t have coined it the same year if that’s true.

I know, I know. Shocking that people in Hollywood would argue about who gets the credit for something – or obscure the truth for the sake of a good story.

Films With Leading Women Are Outperforming Ones Starring Dudes, But Sure, Keep Casting Johnny Depp In Everything

Coming soon: an all-female reboot of literally everything.

Women! They’re everywhere – in bars, at your bus stop, in your office (unless you work for the Liberal party), and now even in your precious children’s movies about punching and space and punching in space.

It’s a bird!

And it looks like this whole “putting chicks in movies” thing might not just be a trend – because it makes money.

A new study analysed box office data for the 350 top-grossing films released between 2014 and 2017. While 105 were classified as female-led – that means a woman who is listed first in the official press materials – and 245 were male-led, the female-led category outgrossed the dude leads in every single budget category.

That means it’s not just mega-hits like Star Wars: The Force AwakensWonder Woman and Moana skewing the budget towards the ladies – even with the movies that cost less than US$10M to make (and still cracked the top 350), the female-led ones still made a cheeky two million bucks more than the male-led movies overall in that period.

Computer, enhance…

And of movies that cost over $100 million to make, there were 75 male-led ones, and only 19 starring women. And those 19 still out-earned the 75 by $72 million.

The analysis also looked at data from, which lists which movies manage not to trip over the lowest possible bar for fully-formed female characters: are there two women characters whose names we know, who manage to have a conversation that doesn’t revolve around a dude?

Like I said, low bar – but 40% of the films in the study don’t pass it. But hey, here’s a statistic, direct from the study:

“Since 2012, all films that have made more than $1B in box office revenue have passed the Bechdel Test.”


– Star Wars: The Force Awakens
– Jurassic World
– Star Wars: The Last Jedi
– Avengers: Age of Ultron
– Furious 7
– Beauty and the Beast
– The Fate of the Furious
– Captain America: Civil War
– Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
– Zootopia
– Finding Dory

The last film to make $1B without passing Bechdel was the first Hobbit movie. Is it even possible to make one billion dollars without passing the Bechdel Test any more? We may never know.

Is that even possible?

Pack ‘er up, boys – all movies are chick flicks now. Aquaman? AquaWOMAN. Boom. John Wick? JOAN CHICK. Box office doubled.

The Top Gun reboot is just going to be all about Captain Marvel’s previous life in the Air Force and Tom Cruise will have a wordless cameo as a guy who tries to hit on Brie Larson in a bar but she politely demolishes him and gets on with her night.

Sorry, lads. That’s showbiz. There might be a few love interest roles for you if you’re willing to do a nude scene, though.

If You Want To Date Brad Pitt, All You Have To Do Is Be A Very Attractive Genius, Apparently

Yet another unrealistic beauty-and-distinguished-academic-career standard for women to live up to.

The good news is, you can be a huge nerd and still date a movie star. The bad news is, you still have to look like a movie star.

First, international law superstar and real good hair haver Amal Clooney locks down George Clooney. Now his good mate Brad Pitt is reportedly dating Dr Neri Oxman, an architect, designer and inventor who’s an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute Of Technology, has been the subject of a WIRED profile and once collaborated with Bjork.

Cool. Cool.

Dr Neri Oxman makes beautiful things I don’t understand out of materials I’ve never heard of, like this mask.


Her work’s in MoMA and the Smithsonian. She invented an entire field of study and design theory (Material Ecology, which “considers computation, fabrication, and the material itself as inseparable dimensions of design”).

And she looks like an Israeli Keri Russell.


Look, I’m not mad that a man whose name has been the universal benchmark for handsomeness for twenty-five years is reportedly interested in a woman with a distinguished career outside entertainment. That’s good news for nerds!

And nobody’s expecting George Clooney and Brad Pitt to settle down with women who aren’t both conventionally attractive and interesting to talk to. I mean, this guy?

This guy.

THIS guy.


But now it’s not enough to have Disney princess hair and legs that go all the way down to the ground. Now you have to have a goddamn PhD or six.


“Sure you’ve got the looks, but have you got a doctorate in groundbreaking design and fabrication theory?”

But of course, poor Dr Neri Oxman is now being featured on Us Weekly and People, not to mention followed around Massachusetts by the paps, as the rumours about her high-profile paramour pick up steam.

She’s even been given the Daily Mail treatment now, with the home of the Sidebar Of Shame babbling that she “stepped out” looking “like a photocopy” of Angelina Jolie because she’s…wearing black and carrying a bag.


(She was also carrying a copy of the Voyager gold record, though, so the Fail had to explain to its readers what that is, which is inexplicably funny to me.)

As much as I’m sure Dr Neri Oxman doesn’t really want to be harassed at work and have gossip rags buying photos of her getting coffee on campus and publishing them with headlines screaming about how DEVASTATED NERI LOOKS HAGGARD AS ANGIE [DOES SOMETHING COMPLETELY UNRELATED], Amal Clooney’s cleverly managed to parlay her sexually transmitted profile boost into a platform for her incredibly important work.

Perhaps Dr Neri Oxman can do the same for whatever the heck Material Ecology is.

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