It’s a tough decision, and one which most of us don’t have to face: what to do with your Oscar? Do you display it proudly on the mantelpiece for all to see, and have every house guest deride your overinflated ego the minute they walk out the door? Or do you put it in the bathroom, and mock the whole institution, but yet still keep it in sight? Or does real life take over, and push that little statue to the back of the book shelf?
What Oscar winners do with (or say they do with) their golden statuettes is an interesting insight into how they view themselves.
For example, Goldie Hawn keeps her Oscar for ‘Cactus Flower’ on a bench in her meditation room, stating that “Trophy rooms are the opposite of me.”
Russell Crowe also likes to play down his award, and apparently keeps the Oscar he won for ‘Gladiator’ in a chicken coop on his ranch in Australia, where he claims it has inspired his hens to lay larger eggs.
Anna Paquin used to keep her Oscar for ‘The Piano’ in her closet, as she “didn’t really want to have it out on display”, but nowadays the ‘True Blood’ star is happy to keep it out on her dressing table.
Timothy Hutton has a good story about his Oscar for ‘Ordinary People’: "About five years ago, my sister and I were having a party at my house in upstate New York. She put it in the refrigerator. She thought that would be kind of funny to put the Oscar in the refrigerator when people would go grab a beer or something ... It's still there."
Nicole Kidman and Angelina Jolie both sent their Oscars (for ‘The Hours’ and ‘Girl, Interrupted’ respectively) to their mothers. Similarly, Jimmy Stewart sent his 1941 Oscar for 'The Philadelphia Story' to his father in Indiana, who displayed it in the window of the family's hardware store for 25 years.
There are quite a few thespians who claim to keep their gongs in their bathrooms:
Emma Thompson keeps her Oscars for ‘Howards End’ and ‘Sense and Sensibility’ by the toilet in her bathroom, pointing out that: “I think you have to have a sense of humour about these things.”
Jodie Foster also used to keep her Oscars in the bathroom because “they looked good with the faucets” but when the bottom of the statues started corroding, she put them in a trophy case in her den.
Elizabeth Taylor, Susan Sarandon, Lionel Richie and Sean Connery have also been said to keep their Oscars in their bathrooms.
Reese Witherspoon makes people work for the honour to touch her Oscar for “Walk the Line” – she keeps hers in the living room and makes people give a speech if they want to hold it.
Helen Hunt says she keeps her first Oscar for ‘As Good As It Gets’ on a shelf above her desk for inspiration. ‘If we have an earthquake, I’ll be killed by my Oscar falling on my head,’ she joked. Her co-star in ‘As Good as it Gets’, Jack Nicholas, keeps his Oscars (for ‘As Good As It Gets’, ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest’ and ‘Terms Of Endearment’) on top of the bookshelves in his front room.
Some people don’t keep their Oscars at all: Jamie Foxx gave his Oscar for ‘Ray’ to his manager, and Tilda Swinton gave hers to her agent. At least it solves the problem of where to put it.
In actual fact, none of these Academy Award winners actually own their statues. Upon being presented with their award, winners must sign an agreement stating that should they wish to sell their statuettes they must first offer them to the Academy for $1. If they refuse, they cannot keep their trophy. This rule has been in effect since 1950, which means that older statues do sometimes appear on the market, but they’ll cost more than $1. Steven Spielberg bought Bette Davis’ Oscar for her role in ‘Jezebel’ for $578,000, as well as the Oscar won by Clark Gable for ‘It Happened One Night’, and donated both of them back to the Academy.