Me & My Oscar: Where 20 Winners Keep Their Statues
Imagine this decorating challenge: You win an Academy Award. But where on earth do you keep the thing? Beside your bed? In your office? Your library? Your kitchen? Behind glass? In the loo? "An Oscar is not something you want to display too prominently," Ben Affleck told InStyle in 2004 about his choice to keep his statue (for Best Original Screenplay for 1997's Good Will Hunting, which he co-wrote with buddy Matt Damon) in mundane places. "But you don’t want to hide it either."
From 1997 to 2008, InStyle asked Oscar-winning celebrities how they handled the challenge. Where did they stash their shiny new statutes once they came home? Some of the answers were surprising (like Geena Davis, who had it enshrined for a time in a pagoda); some downright funny (beside the shampoo in the bathtub for Carly Simon). Others were a bit of a head-scratcher (like Anna Paquin, who told us she kept Oscar hidden in the closet).
For years, Costner kept his golden boys in his underwear drawer because he didn’t want anyone to walk off with them. But when he built a screening room, he placed them there. “The awards seem to be in the perfect spot: As you go to my screening room, you pass posters of movies that have influenced me (Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, Bridge on the River Kwai). And it feels appropriate that you have to see a movie to see them.”
Field found a home for her Oscars on the cubbyhole-like shelves in her den. “They call out for things to be put there. They used to be filled with family pictures, so the Oscars were kind of lost. But I thinned all that out,” says the actress. “Norma Rae was the first film I starred in. I was in my early 30s, and I was often battling to get in the door—I wasn’t pretty enough or sexy enough, or something women were at that time.”
“I can’t tell you how scary it was to hear my name called and to have to talk in front of all those people staring at me,” Paquin said, who was 11 when she won the Oscar. “I keep it next to my boots at the back of my closet. I don’t display it because friends would think they had to comment and I don’t want that kind of attention. I’m just a teenager who loves music and vintage clothes and wants to learn how to be a photographer.”
“Having an Oscar is a badge of honor, but winning it is an out-of-body experience,” Huston told InStyle. “I’ve kept my Oscar on my desk filled with memories of my family history. I’m not sure what I won that Rudolph Valentino statue for, but when they promised it was 24-kt gold, I showed up to receive it. I’m still waiting for a mate for Oscar, so he’s keeping a place warm.”
“I keep my special Oscar (a Thalberg bust) in a case (at his Skywalker Ranch office) next to artifacts from my movies and mementos from my career,” Lucas said. “It’s near Indiana Jones’s diary, whip, and fedora, and the Holy Grail—and close to the laser, swords, and prototypes for the spaceships from Star Wars.”
“When I won the Oscar, I was performing Julius Caesar at the Brooklyn Academy of Music,” Dreyfus said. “I had just moved to New York and my apartment was being redecorated so I didn’t want to leave it around. So whenever I went to Brooklyn, I carried the Oscar on the subway in a plain brown wrapper. Now I keep it at home in my office in L.A., where it’s not too in focus and not too hidden. It’s with different merit badges and awards—like the one I got for a police golf tournament.”
“I live more simply now. I don’t care about clothes, and many of my awards are in drawers or in storage,” said MacLaine. “My Oscar is in my den, next to the Siva I got in India. Oscar serves a very practical purpose: When the winds blow through my New Mexico ranch, he keeps The New York Times from blowing away.”
“My award is in the room where I study and practice meditation. Sometimes it’s on the mantel, sometimes I put it away,” she said. “Trophy rooms are the opposite of me. Awards are history—that’s my philosophy.”
“At first the award lived in my apartment in L.A. Then I gave it to my mother. I allowed her to hold it hostage in Boston in lieu of a grandson,” he said. “I stole it back and it kicked around from office to office. I’ve kept it in pretty mundane locations, on desks or bookshelves. Here it’s in Matt’s and my office next to my signed Celtics basketball, a Red Sox hat, and photos of me and Matt clowning around right after we won. It would be nice to win for acting; I’m sure my work in Gigli has a shot!”
Cuba Gooding Jr.
“For six years it was in our old house in Coldwater Canyon,” he said. “We had a wine cabinet, and it sat behind the glass on one of the shelves. People would say, ‘Is that it?’ The cabinet was temperature controlled because of the wine, so the Oscar stayed brand-new. Now that I keep it out in the open in my screening room, it has become tarnished—which is kind of cool. It’s starting to age and get character. Like me.”
“When I lived in New York City I kept my Oscar under a glass case on a mantelpiece. When I moved to the Vineyard, the shelf by my bathtub seemed like the perfect place because it wasn’t too hidden, too available, and it was personal,” Simon explained. “It’s with my shampoo, pumice stones, bath oils, beautiful silver soap dish and whatever tea I bring up when I could have my bath. The Oscar looks as if it belongs there—like I could remove its head, pour its contents on top of my hair and have a nice wash.”
“I used to keep my Oscars out of sight, but now they are on the mantel in my study (with his Golden Globe Awards),” he said. “What made me change? Probably years of therapy! I am proud of them, but they are not what propels me in my work.”
“It’s been in my bedroom, on the mantel,” she said. “For a year I’ve been able to wake up every morning, look at the Oscar and go, ‘Ahhh...’ Wherever I sleep, that’s where I’ll keep it! I was completely honored to be at the ceremony, but I woke up the next day, fed the babies, and life remained the same.”
“My Oscar has lived a quiet life. I keep it tucked away in our guesthouse, not just because I’m not trying to show it off, but I also don’t want anyone to swipe it if I’m gone,” he said. “I do bring it out when people ask. Not long ago a friend was over with his 12-year-old twin boys, and (they) started swinging it around. That’s when they found out what I discovered the night it was handed to me: The Oscar’s got serious weight to it, and I appreciate that.”
“For the last year I’ve kept it in my empty new house - I had no time to decorate,” she said. “But I finally got to shop this Christmas and bought a pedestal for it that I keep lit. Where I come from, no one has ever seen an Oscar. So I let people take pictures with it - but I do not allow them to touch it. Sorry, no touching the Oscar! It’s the ultimate honor, and I need to protect it.”
“What a night! When I flew back to my home outside London, I kept my Oscar right by my side,” he said. “Now I display it in one of my favorite rooms, the library, right next to a painting by Francis Bacon.”
When we talked to Fonda, she was still married to Ted Turner. “It's amazing how much people love seeing an Oscar,” she said. “After I met Ted, and he showed me his wall-to-wall sailing trophies in an office big enough for a skating rink, I turned to him and said, 'Honey, I've won a few trophies too. Where am I going to put mine?' So we built a trophy case in Montana and keep them all together. What's great about having won two Oscars is that I can do a workout with them!"
"My Oscars have moved with me over the years, and my goal is to find a balanced way to display them,” he said. “I don't want a gauche presentation, where they're set up on some revolving platform in the living room, and as soon as you open the door, a key light comes on. But they are part of your history, like good memories and valuable photos, and a reminder of the acknowledgment of your peers, so you want to honor them. There's also the Oscar magic. Friends want to touch them, as if they will bring them luck."
Davis was photographed with her Oscar in 1999 and then here in 2006. “I've kept my Oscar in all sorts of places,” she said. “I've enshrined him in a pagoda; I've even had him behind velvet ropes. He fell off my fireplace mantel in L.A. when we had the earthquake in '94, and he's been dented ever since. He looks like a slalom skier; I've even thought of getting him some little poles.”
"When my house was being built in 1998, one of the guys who was doing work in my office said he wanted to construct a trophy cabinet for me,” he said. “And he put an acrylic sign on the top shelf saying 'No Parking: Oscar Only.' So when I won last year, I took down the sign and put the Oscar in its place."