National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Estate of Katharine Hepburn
The Oscar statuette was designed in 1927 by MGM director Cedric Gibbons and sculpted by George Stanley. The figure stands on a film reel with five spokes, signifying the original branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences: actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers. The pedestal was raised in 1945, giving Oscar a height of 13½ inches; it weighs 8½ pounds. Rather than its original gold-plated bronze, it is now composed of the alloy Britannia and coated in twenty-four-karat gold.