[Ads-l] Slight But Important Antedating of Term "Oscar"

Mark Mandel mark.a.mandel at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 4 14:45:16 EDT 2018


Good catch!

On Mon, Jun 4, 2018, 10:13 AM Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:

> I have found a slight but important antedating of the term "Oscar"
> denoting the motion picture Academy Award.
>
>
> It should be clearly understood that Barry Popik is the person who tracked
> down usage by Sidney Skolsky of "Oscar" in the New York Daily News, March
> 19, 1934, and pointed out that Skolsky's association with the term in 1934
> should supplant unsubstantiated popular theories that Margaret Herrick or
> Bette Davis originated "Oscar."  The Oxford English Dictionary's first
> citation is the March 19 occurrence found by Popik.  Popik has unearthed
> more important factual information about very important Americanisms than
> anyone else ever has, and "Oscar" is one of his best discoveries.
>
>
> Popik also recently pointed out that the New York Daily News has now been
> digitized by newspapers.com.  In searching newspapers.com today I
> retrieved the following two-day antedating of "Oscar":
>
>
> *****
>
>
> 1934 Sidney Skolsky in _New York Daily News_ 17 Mar. 3/2  The Academy of
> Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made its annual awards for the outstanding
> achievements in the motion picture field at their banquet in the Ambassador
> Hotel this evening.  These awards mean to Hollywood what the Pulitzer prize
> means to the dramatists and novelists.  It is the picture people's main
> incentive to strive for an "artistic achievement" in an industry where
> their worth is judged by box office figures.  At tonight's banquet the
> winners, while movieland looked on and applauded, were presented with
> bronze statues.  To the profession these statues are called Oscars. ...
> Here are a few winners who now have a little Oscar in their home. ... The
> Oscar for the best production of the year went to Fox for "Cavalcade." ...
> Laughton, who started as a kitchen clerk in the Claridge Hotel in London,
> also was not present to receive his little Oscar. ... The Oscar for the
> best direction went to Frank Lloyd for "Cavalcade."  Sarah Y. Mason and
> Victor Heerman will take turns on the Oscar for their adaptation on "Little
> Women."
>
>
> *****
>
>
> The primary significance of the citation above is not the two-day
> improvement in the earliest known occurrence of "Oscar."  The primary
> significance is that Skolsky, who later claimed to have coined "Oscar," in
> this March 17, 1934 column states that "To the profession these statues are
> called Oscars" (establishing that the term was used before March 17) and
> does not in any way present the term as his own coinage.  As a result, the
> March 17 citation greatly undermines the idea that Skolsky was the
> originator.
>
>
> Fred Shapiro
>
> Editor
>
> YALE BOOK OF QUOTATIONS (Yale University Press)
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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