Jared Leto clearly remembers the night that he won the Oscar for best supporting actor for his performance in 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club. When it comes to what he did with his trophy, not so much.
“You know, I found out that it's been missing for, like three years, and I didn't know that,” Leto said Tuesday on The Late Late Show With James Corden. “I don’t think anyone wanted to tell me. But I had moved houses in L.A. and then when we moved, it somehow just magically kind of disappeared.”
Leto added that he hopes the statuette is being handled with care… wherever it is.
“I think it’s a possibility [that someone else has it],” Leto said. “It’s not the sort of thing someone accidentally throws in the trash.”
Though it seems unlikely that a star would be separated from their Oscar, the scenario has played out many times since the Academy Awards ceremony was first held in 1929.
Like Leto, Jennifer Lawrence and Matt Damon lost track of their trophies. Angelina Jolie, who won for her 1999 supporting actress turn in Girl, Interrupted, reportedly said as early as 2009 that she hadn’t seen hers.
Meanwhile, the late Marlon Brando didn’t have either of the two Oscars he won by the time he wrote his 1994 autobiography, Songs My Mother Taught Me. He included a photo of himself holding the first, which he won at the 1955 ceremony for On the Waterfront, and wrote that it somehow “ended up at a London auction house.” Brando also didn’t have the second, which he won for 1973’s The Godfather and Sacheen Littlefeather famously rejected on his behalf. “I don’t know what happened to that Oscar,” he wrote in his book. “The Motion Picture Academy may have sent it to me, but if it did I don’t know where it is now.”
A few other recipients lost their gold to theft, at least temporarily.
That’s what happened to Hattie McDaniel — the first Black person ever to be nominated for an Oscar — after she clinched the best actress win for playing Mammy in Gone With the Wind. McDaniel donated the award to Howard University near the end of her life. (She died in 1952.) Then, in the 1960s or ‘70s, it vanished from the university’s fine arts center. No one’s sure if it’s just been misplaced, because the accolade was a plaque in those days, or if it was an intentional theft, perhaps by someone unhappy with the controversial role McDaniel played as a servant.
In 1989, Olympia Dukakis — the previous year’s best supporting actress winner for Moonstruck — was away from home when someone broke in and took only her Oscar. Surprisingly, the thief left the nameplate. He then tried to sell the rest of it back to her, but she ended up buying a new one from the academy for about $78 instead.
Whoopi Goldberg held onto the trophy she took home for best supporting actress in 1990’s Ghost for more than a decade. The problem occurred when she sent it back to the Academy for maintenance. Oddly, the box Goldberg sent arrived at its destination empty, and someone found the trophy in the trash near the location where she had mailed it. The theory was that the thief hadn’t realized that each Oscar has a serial number, so it would be tough to pawn.
Then, there was that incident at the 2018 Oscars, in which Frances McDormand won her second Oscar, for her portrayal of a grieving mother in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It went missing during the official afterparty, the Governors Ball. A man named Terry Bryant, who had a ticket to the event, was captured on video posted on social media holding it and declaring that he’d won it himself. “Who wants to tell me congratulations?” he said. While Bryant was arrested that very night, the charge of felony theft eventually brought against him was dropped in August 2019. McDormand’s treasure was immediately returned to her.
This year’s Academy Awards are scheduled for April 25, which is later than usual, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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