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Home » Behind The Scenes, People and Places

And the Oscar Goes to…

Submitted by on October 5, 2011 – 9:41 amNo Comment

Bradford City of Film 3

And the Oscar Goes to…

You know the scenario. You’ve been nominated for an Oscar, you’ve rehearsed the winning speech, and your stylist has sourced the perfect outfit. But have you ever got as far as thinking about where you’d put your golden statue once you get it home? I imagine mine would take pride of place on the mantelpiece in the lounge.

But that’s “too showy”, according to the Yorkshire man who’s already experienced this dilemma for real. Simon Beaufoy won his Oscar in 2009 for Best Adapted Screenplay for Slumdog Millionaire and still hasn’t found the ideal spot for his award. “I’ve used it as a door stopper but even that looks like I’m trying too hard,” he explains.

I bumped into Simon last week at the National Media Museum of which he is a Trustee. When Bradford became the world’s first UNESCO City of Film back in June 2009, Simon and “Oscar” rolled up to town together for the celebrations. Well, can you think of a better PR opportunity? “Everybody wants to have their picture taken with it. Everybody!” Simon had tucked away the Oscar in his hand luggage when he returned to Britain after his win at the Academy Awards. But even the airport staff couldn’t resist having a magical moment with the golden statue. As Simon’s bag went through the scanner, the security chap honed in on the familiar looking image and remarked with disbelief, “That’s not…Is it?”

Seriously though, I hadn’t realised what a liability it is to have to share your life with an Oscar. Recipients have to pay a dollar and sign a binding contract promising not to sell the award, or give it away except to a close relative. Apparently it’s because The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences want to maintain a sense of exclusivity over the golden statues.

“It’s not exactly door stopper material,” I ponder aloud.

“I know. And it’s already chipped because I dropped it!” Simon confesses guiltily.

“You’ve got it insured though, haven’t you?” I ask.

“They won’t insure it. When I brought it home, I spoke to a couple of insurance firms and they wanted to know how much it was worth. I told them I paid a dollar for it so they offered to insure it for a dollar!”

“Has it got a serial number? I ask.

“Yes!” says Simon despairingly, with his head in his hands now, “but I haven’t made a note of it yet.”

“But if something happened, surely you could ring the Academy and get a replacement.” I suggest helpfully.

“No! They won’t replace it. If it’s gone, that’s it.” It’s the exclusivity again.

“So where do you keep it?”

“Well, I had in the bathroom but now it’s sitting in the kitchen cupboard next to the beans. I was going away, literally dashing out of the door and I thought I’d better hide it somewhere nobody would think to look!”

@irnaqureshi blogs about being British, Pakistani and female in Bradford, against a backdrop of classic Indian films at www.bollywoodinbritain.wordpress.com.

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