On Oscars night, quite a few variations on a certain golden theme will be standing in Hollywood’s spotlight. The originals—cast in an alloy called britannium and then plated in, successively, copper, nickel silver, and 24-karat gold—are essentially on long-term loan to their winners. Since 1950, each recipient has had to sign a contract agreeing not to hock the statuette; legally, the only way to sell it is to offer it back to the Academy—for $1. (In 2008, Bloomberg News estimated that the cost to make each one was $500.) And why are they called Oscars? Well, no one knows for sure. It could have been that the statue resembled the Uncle Oscar of an early Academy employee, or Bette Davis’s first husband, or even a Norwegian king.