Question: When Pedro Almodovar won the best original screenplay Oscar for Talk to Her (2002), the announcer said as he was walking up to the stage that it was his second nomination, the other being for best director for the same film. But didn't he win an Oscar for All About My Mother (1999) in the foreign-language-film category? I know that the nominees in that category are actually the countries where the films were released and produced, but why does the director get to accept the award, not the producers? Do Oscar winners who are absent the night they win still get to receive their statuettes even if it's long after they won? And finally, what happens if your Oscar is stolen or broken — can you get a new one?


Answer: Wow, you are full of questions! The director gets to accept the award because the Academy says so in section 4 of its rules pertaining to foreign-film nominees: “The Academy Statuette… will be awarded to the picture and accepted by the director on behalf of the film's creative talents.” But because the award is actually for the film, it doesn’t count as a nomination for the filmmaker. So Pedro Almodovar was, as the announcer said, a two-time nominee.

As to your second and third questions, winners who don’t pick up their statuettes (or have them picked up by someone designated in advance) can get them later. If an Oscar is lost, stolen or destroyed, the Academy makes it hard to get a replacement for fear of inadvertently helping feed the collectible market for statuettes. That said, Orson Welles’ daughter, Beatrice, requested and received one in 1988 because it appeared her father’s best original screenplay Oscar for Citizen Kane (1941) had been permanently lost (it later turned up in the possession of low-budget filmmaker Gary Graver, part of Welles’ motley circle of friends in his latter years, but that's a whole other story). Child actress Margaret O'Brien received a new statuette after her special Oscar for Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) was stolen shortly after it was awarded (the original turned up at a flea market decades later and was returned to her), and in 1984 Gene Kelly was given a copy of the award he received in 1952 in recognition of “his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film” after the original was destroyed in a 1983 fire. The Academy even had to replace one statuette that it ruined itself: The widow of Richard Homel sent the honorary 1955 Oscar her late husband’s father, producer Robert B. Homel, won for Miyamoto Musashi/Samurai (1954), to be refurbished and it was destroyed in the process; she got a new Oscar statuette set on the old base.