Man charged in theft of Frances McDormand’s Oscar

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Terry Bryant, accused of stealing Frances McDormand's best actress Oscar at the lavish Governor's Ball party, is seen in this still image from Reuters video in Hollywood, California, U.S., March 4, 2018. (Screenshot by Reuters/Reuters TV)

LOS ANGELES | The man accused of stealing Frances McDormand’s best actress Oscar from a lavish Academy Awards after-party in Hollywood has been charged with felony theft, the Los Angeles County District Attorney said on Tuesday.

Terry Bryant, 37, faces up to three years in county jail if convicted on the single count of grand theft of property exceeding $950, prosecutors said.

Bryant is accused of swiping McDormand’s Oscar statuette from the black-tie Governor’s Ball where Oscar winners have their awards engraved. A photographer foiled Bryan’s attempt to make off with McDormand’s Oscar.

Reuters Television captured Bryant leaving the event holding the statuette saying, “We got it. We did it. We did it. I got to go.”

The Los Angeles police department said in a statement that the photographer, whom they did not identify, grew suspicious when he failed to “recognize Bryant as a recipient from the awards show.”

He followed Bryant out of the party “and without any resistance from Bryant took the Oscar from him,” the statement said.

It was not clear how Bryant took possession of the Oscar, or in what capacity he was attending the event, but police said he had a ticket to enter.

Bryant also posted a video on social media of himself at the event holding an Oscar statuette and telling other guests he was a winner.

“After a brief time apart, Frances and her Oscar were happily reunited. They celebrated the reunion with a double cheeseburger from In and Out,” McDormand’s representative, Simon Halls, said in a statement, referring to the California fast-food chain.

Halls did not say whether McDormand planned to press charges. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which retains some rights to the Oscar statuettes it hands out, did not return a request for comment on Monday.

Before McDormand retook possession of her Oscar, Reuters photographer Mario Anzuoni saw an Academy official at the Governor’s Ball hand the recovered statuette to best actor winner Gary Oldman to return to McDormand.

Oldman posed for photos with the two Oscars but returned McDormand’s to officials because the actress had already left the ball.

Bryant is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday. Prosecutors have requested his bail be set at $20,000.

McDormand won the Oscar for her role as an angry, grieving mother in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Messages left seeking comment from Oscars presenters Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences were not immediately returned.

McDormand’s representatives declined comment.

A message sent to a Facebook account appearing to be Bryant’s was not returned. It is unclear if he has an attorney.

(With a report from Eric Kelsey)