Cedric Gibbons the Dublin born art director won eleven academy awards and designed the famous Oscar statuette.

The incredible career of Cedric Gibbons who received 39 Oscar nominations, won 11 and also designed the famous statuette that has been used since the awards began in 1929.

An Irishman holds the distinction for the second highest number of nominations ever?

Only Walt Disney received more Oscar nominations than Cedric Gibbons.

Pauric Dempsey of the Royal Irish Academy describes the incredible career of a man who is not very well known in his homeland. Born in Dubin, the family emigrated to America when Cedric Gibbons was quite young and he was brought up in Brooklyn. 

He worked on film since 1915 as a production designer or art director, responsible for how things looked on screen. He was responsible for the evolution of three-dimensional sets in the early silent movies. When MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) was established in 1924, Cedric became their art director. Cedric is credited on the approximate 1,500 movies that MGM made between 1924 until he retired.

They all carry the name Cedric Gibbons.

Cedric Gibbons went on to win more Academy Awards than any other art director for films including Pride and Prejudice (1940), Little Women (1949), and An American in Paris (1952) to name but a few.

This report includes excerpts from Pride and Prejudice, Julius Caesar (1953), Gaslight (1944), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1957), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) and The Wizard of Oz (1939). 

There was a distinctive appearnce to Gibbons's films which became known as 'The Gibbons Look'.

Cedric Gibbons was one of the 36 founding members of the Academy for Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The Academy decided that they were going to hold an annual awards ceremony to reward people from the industry.

At the request of Louis Mayer, Head of MGM, Cedric Gibbons designed the award statuette depicting a crusader standing on a reel of film holding a crusader's sword in his hand. Mexican actor and director Emilio Fernández posed nude for the statue and what is known today as 'Oscar' was born.

Cedric Gibbons retired in 1956 and died in 1960 at the age of 67. 

Cedric was not the only famous member of his family. His nephew, Billy Gibbons, became a member of rock band ZZ Top and his niece was actress Sandra Shaw (Veronica Cooper, née Balfe) who played the woman who was dropped to the street by King Kong in the 1933 film.

Another Irish connection to the MGM studios was Slats the lion who came from Dublin Zoo and was used between 1924 and 1928.  

This episode of 'Drivetime' was broadcast on 2 March 2012. The presenter is Mary Wilson.