Sean Penn Hands an Oscar to Zelensky

'When you win, bring it back to Malibu'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2022 1:58 PM CST
Sean Penn Hands an Oscar to Zelensky
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky walks with Sean Penn after their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.   (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wasn't nominated for an Oscar during his acting career—which included playing the president of Ukraine in a comedy series—but he now has one such trophy in his possession. Sean Penn met Zelensky in Kyiv Tuesday and handed him one of his two Oscars, saying it was on loan until Ukraine wins the war, People reports. "It's just a symbolic silly thing, but if I know this is here with you, then I'll feel better and strong enough for the fights," Penn told Zelensky in a video posted on Instagram. "When you win, bring it back to Malibu because I'll feel much better knowing there's a piece of me here."

Zelensky awarded Penn, who was on his third visit to the country since the Russian invasion, Ukraine's Order of Merit and walked with the actor to a plaque in the ground dedicated to him, the Guardian reports. Moscow has permanently banned actors including Penn and Ben Stiller from visiting Russia, per the BBC. In March, Penn threatened to "smelt" his Oscars if Zelensky wasn't allowed to make a video appearance at the Academy Awards. Zelensky didn't speak at the ceremony, though he did address the Grammy Awards a week later. (More Sean Penn stories.)

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