In show business, it seems the biggest prizes have nicknames. Emmy and Grammy are both named after antique technological equipment. The Tony is named after one of the founders of the awards. The story behind the creation of the "Oscar" name is a little murky.
The tale explaining the origin of Oscar, the name that has been adopted to represent the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences award, is somewhat of an urban legend in that it has not been verified:
According to the Academy's Web site, www.oscars.org, an Academy librarian thought the 13 1/2-inch statuette of a bald and chiseled knight holding a sword resembled her uncle, Oscar.
The trophy was introduced in 1929, but the use of the Oscar name began in 1934 when a journalist, who knew of the legend, used the nickname in an article. In 1939, the Academy adopted it officially.
However, Oscar is not the only coveted entertainment trophy whose name has less than obvious origins.
The naming of Oscar's most popular peers:
EMMY: This award presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, is named after an obsolete piece of technology, the image orthicon camera, commonly referred to as "Immy." The name did not change, but the spelling did.
The name "Ike" was first suggested, but a war hero, Dwight D. Eisenhower, had already laid claim to that nickname.
GRAMMY: The Grammy Awards are presented by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The award is shaped like a gramophone or phonograph. In 1957, a nationwide contest was held to determine the name of the trophy. Nearly half of those responding suggested "Grammy."
TONY: Like the Oscar, the Tony is named after a person. Like the Emmy and Grammy, "Tony" is a nickname.
The Tony Award, presented by the League of American Theatre and the American Theatre Wing, honors the best of on-stage performances and is named after Antoinette Perry, a founder of the Theatre Wing.
GOLDEN GLOBE: This acting trophy, which has been around since the mid 1940s, is often considered a foreshadowing of the Oscars. The award, from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is in the shape of a globe, which signifies the international range of its nominees and recipients.
AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS: The 30-year-old trophy presented to entertainers at the American Music Awards is simply called an American Music Award; however, in the tradition of great trophies everywhere, the name is routinely shortened to initials: AMA.