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The stars who lost their Oscars: from Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, to Jared Leto and Whoopi Goldberg

To win an Oscar is a monumental achievement, but not everyone keeps ahold of the iconic statue

Frances McDormand, Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh all holding their Oscars
Bryony Gooch
US Writer
March 9, 2024
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For many actors and actresses, the Oscars can be the greatest night of their career. That iconic statue can signify the ultimate recognition by your peers for your work - and where you keep it afterwards can say a lot about you as an actor.

Robert De Niro revealed his awards are in the care of the University of Texas, while musician H.E.R - who won Best Original Song in 2021 - uses her as a centerpiece on her dining room table. 

Tom Hanks keeps his on the family trophy shelf, next to the soccer trophies, Emma Stone's is at her mom's house, while both Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet have admitted they keep their Oscars in their bathrooms.

But what about the stars who have lost their Oscars, or had theirs stolen? Not everyone is lucky enough to keep ahold of their statue - and not everyone cares enough about it to keep track.

Here are the stars who lost their Oscars.

Jared Leto

HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02:  Jared Leto, winner of Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role poses in the press room during the Oscars at Loews Hollywood Hotel on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)© Jason Merritt
Jared Leto winning his Oscar

Jared Leto won his Best Supporting Actor trophy for his role in Dallas Buyers Club in 2014, and early on admitted he had kept his Oscar in his kitchen. Yet in 2021, he revealed that the statue had "somehow just magically kind of disappeared" during a house move.

"It's been missing for, like, three years, and I didn't know that", he said. "Everyone searched for it high and low, and, you know; I hope it's in good hands wherever it is, but, you know, we haven’t seen it in quite some time."

Frances McDormand

THE OSCARS® - The 93rd Oscars will be held on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and international locations via satellite. "The Oscars" will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT and in more than 200 territories worldwide. (ABC via Getty Images)FRANCES MCDORMAND© ABC
Frances McDormand in 2021

Frances McDormand has three Oscars, which puts her in with the likes of Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis and Jack Nicholson and living actors with the most Academy Awards.

But as she celebrated her win in 2018, for Best Actress in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the star had her Oscar stolen as she set the statue down at an after party.

Frances was found crying outside the event, and after hours of police searching, a man who was allegedly spotted leaving the party with her statue was arrested.

According to her representative, the actress celebrated the reunion with a double cheeseburger from In-N-Out, and dropped charges against the man without further explanation.

Whoopi Goldberg

(Original Caption) Los Angeles: Whoopi Goldberg holds her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Ghost March 25.© Bettmann
Whoopi Goldberg accepting her Oscar

The View host Whoopi Goldberg won best supporting actress for Ghost in 1990, but when she mailed the statue out for a cleaning in 2002, the award's manufacturer found that the UPS box that was meant to contain the award was empty. 

Days after, the award was found - unusually - in a waste bin at Ontario airport. The Oscar was successfully returned to the actress, who confirmed that the award "will never leave my house again".

Vivien Leigh

(Original Caption) 3/2/1940-Hollywood, California- Vivien Leigh, chosen as the actress who gave best screen performance in 1939, gets her gold "Oscar" at twelfth annual Academy Awards banquet in Hollywood. David O. Selznick, producer of "Gone With the Wind" admires his star's trophy. The statuette was given the auburn-haired british actress for her rendition of the role Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind."© Bettmann
Vivien Leigh receiving an Oscar in 1939

Legendary actress Vivien Leigh was unable to personally collect her Oscar for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1952. Instead, she accepted the award in a smaller ceremony months later near her London home. 

Yet Vivien was sadly the victim of a burglary, as thieves stole her clothes, silverware, and her precious Oscar. The original statue was never found, but the Academy replaced it weeks later.

Hattie McDaniel

American actress Hattie McDaniel (1895 - 1952) with her Academy Award of Merit for Outstanding Achievement, circa 1945. McDaniel won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role of Mammy in 'Gone With The Wind', making her the first African-American to win an Academy Award. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)© John Kobal Foundation
Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Oscar

Hattie McDaniel made history as the first Black Oscar winner for her role in Gone with the Wind in 1939. Yet when she left her award to Howard University in her will, the Oscar went missing - reportedly at some point in the Sixties.

The mystery remains unsolved, as some suggested it was dumped in a river during Civil Rights protests on campus for Hattie winning for her role as a maid. Hattie received a plaque instead of one of the iconic statues, so others have suggested that someone moved it without realizing what it was.

Marlon Brando

(Original Caption) Actor Marlon Brando is all smiles as he holds his Oscar which was awarded to him for the best actor of 1954. Brando, who won the Oscar for his performance in the film, On The Waterfront was overwhelmed by the honor Hollywood bestowed upon him.© Bettmann
Marlon Brando with his first Oscar

Regarded as one of the best actors of all time, Marlon Brando had a more casual approach to the Academy Awards. He claimed in his autobiography that he had lost both the Oscars awarded to him.

"I don’t know what happened to the Oscar they gave me for On The Waterfront," he wrote. "Somewhere in the passage of time it disappeared."

Similarly for his Oscar for The Godfather, famously accepted by activist Sacheen Littlefeather, "The Motion Picture Academy may have sent it to me, but if it did, I don't know where it is now."

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