Actor Sean Penn, who is producing a documentary about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, loaned one of his two Oscars to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and instructed him to return it to Malibu after winning.
The meeting was captured on camera during Penn’s third trip to Ukraine since the war officially began on February 24.
Zelenskyy’s office published the footage on Wednesday. According to the president’s tweet, the Oscar is “a symbol of faith in our country’s victory.”
Penn informed Zelenskyy that “I feel like a traitor every time he leaves Ukraine.”
Penn has, over the years, been active in several worldwide humanitarian and anti-war initiatives.
“But if I know this is here with you, then I will feel better and stronger for the fights,” Penn said.
“When you win, bring it back to Malibu. Because I feel much better knowing there is a piece of me here,” Penn added.
Zelenskyy first resisted taking the award before joking, “We have to win, quick.”
No information was available regarding the meeting’s timing or the Oscar Penn left behind. Penn has won two Academy Awards for best actor, in 2003 for “Mystic River” and 2008 for “Milk.”
An email Wednesday seeking clarification received no immediate response from his publicist.
Penn has been working on a documentary on the invasion and was among the first to travel to Ukraine when Russian troops entered the nation.
Zelenskyy gave Penn the Ukrainian Order of Merit, bestowed to people for exceptional accomplishments in the arts, sciences, military, or politics during their encounter.
In 1996, Leonid Kuchma, a former leader of Ukraine, founded the organization.