The Academy Award is the most coveted statue in Hollywood, but what most do not know is that they are holding a piece of Latino history in their hands once they win it. The first Oscar Award ceremony took place in 1929, just as “talkies” or pictures with sound started taking prominence in the film industry, and a Latino became the muse for the golden statue. The Oscar award that is handed out to Hollywood's biggest stars is modeled after Mexican director Emilio “El Indio” Fernández thanks to friend and actress Dolores del Río.
At the time that the awards ceremony was being organized, Dolores was dating MGM Art Director Cedric Gibbons, who was said to have designed the coveted statue. As Cedric was looking for a muse to model the golden award after, Dolores suggested that he use Emilio due to his athletic build (according to film historians). It is said that Emilio wasn’t a big fan on posing for the statue desnudo, but eventually agreed to it — and the rest is history.
The iconic statue wasn’t nicknamed the ‘Oscar’ until 1939, and over 3,000 awards have been given out since the award show’s inception. A popular story says that the award was given the ‘Oscar’ nickname after a columnist referred to it as such in a piece about actress Katharine Hepburn’s first win.