What In The World Happened To Alice Brady’s Oscar?

Academy Award photo

Photo by Dave_B_

(PCM) Each and every year the Academy Awards is held to celebrate the best and the brightest talent in Hollywood. Actors, actresses, directors, producers and films are honored as being the greatest and standing up to the test of time. Actors and actresses dream about winning an Academy Award and gripping that golden statuette on the big stage in front of all their peers.

What was amazing to us, was to learn just how many Oscar statuettes and plaques have been stolen or reported missing over the years. With something as valuable as an Oscar statuette is it not too surprising that they would become the target of thieves, however many have disappeared under some highly unusual circumstances.

For instance, when we take a look at actress Alice Brady’s 1938 Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress, it is definitely quite a bizarre case. Unfortunately due to a broken ankle, Alice Brady was not able to attend the 1938 Academy Awards ceremony and she ended up winning the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Old Chicago”. During the ceremony when her name was announced as the winner, an unknown man (referred to as the imposter) jumped up on the stage and accepted the award on her behalf. Here’s where it gets a bit strange. To this very day, Brady’s Oscar has never been recovered and the man’s identity remains a mystery.

Another statuette was created for Brady, however the case of what happened to the original will most likely never be solved. Sadly, Brady passed away of cancer shortly after her award win at the age of forty six.

In the year 2000, fifty five Oscar statuettes were stolen for a Los Angeles loading dock, just mere days before the big ceremony. Fifty three of the statuettes were recovered, however two still remain missing. Whoopi Goldberg’s Oscar went missing in 2002 when she had sent it out to be cleaned. It was lost by UPS, and was later discovered in a trash dumpster.

Another interesting missing Oscar story is that of actress Hattie McDaniel who won the awards for her role as Mammy in the epic 1939 film “Gone With The Wind”. McDaniel was the first African American woman to win an Academy Award making it an incredibly historic event. Her award, which was a plaque rather than a statuette at the time, has now been missing for over forty years.

McDaniel proudly kept the awards present in her home, however when she became ill with breast cancer later in life, she began giving away some of her prized possession. She donated her Oscar plaque to Howard University, where it was on display in their fine arts department until it eventually disappeared.

There was much civil unrest at the university during that time period, so many believe the Oscar may have been stolen during a student riot, however others believe it was moved for safe keeping and no can seem to remember where it was placed. Anyone that would have worked for the university during that time period has since retired or are deceased, so sadly McDaniel’s Oscar is still missing.