Kyiv, Ukraine — Actor Sean Penn, who is making a documentary about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, loaned one of his two Oscars to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and told him: ‘When you win, take it back to Malibu’ .
Zelenskyy’s office released video of the encounter on Wednesday during Penn’s latest visit to Ukraine, his third since the war began on Feb. 24. The president tweeted that the Oscar was “a symbol of faith in our country’s victory.”
Penn, who has been involved in many international humanitarian and anti-war efforts over the years, told Zelenskyy that every time he leaves Ukraine, “I feel like a traitor.”
“But if I know it’s here with you, I’ll feel better and stronger for the fights,” Penn said as he took the statuette out of a black bag and placed it on a table in front of Zelenskyy. “When you win, take it back to Malibu. Because I feel so much better knowing there’s a part of me here.
Zelenskyy was initially hesitant to accept the statue, then joked, “We have to win, fast.”
It’s unclear when the meeting took place or which Oscar Penn left behind: Penn won two Best Actor Oscars, in 2003 for “Mystic River” and in 2008 for “Milk.”
His publicist did not immediately respond to an email asking for details on Wednesday.
Penn was one of the first people to visit Ukraine after Russian troops arrived in the country and he is working on a documentary about the invasion.
During their meeting, Zelenskyy presented Penn with an award, the Ukrainian Order of Merit, which is given to citizens for outstanding achievement in economics, science, culture or business. military or political. Established by former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in 1996, past recipients of the award include Ukrainian scholars and writers, as well as Soviet-era military commanders.
The video released by the president’s office then showed Penn and Zelenskyy strolling through Kyiv and arriving at Constitution Square, opposite the Ukrainian parliament building and the presidential palace, where there is a “promenade of the brave” – a footbridge lined with plaques honoring world leaders. who have shown solidarity with Ukraine. The walkway, which opened in August, features a square plaque set into the floor engraved with Penn’s name and the date February 24, 2022, the start of the invasion.
Showing the plaque, Penn told Zelenskyy that there were three places in the world that were the source of his pride: “The place where my daughter was born, the place my son was born and this. Thank you .”