Sean Penn Gives His Oscar For Best Actor To President Zelensky—But What Does It Symbolize?

By Nicole Dominique
·  2 min read
sean zelenski

Sean Penn loaned the Oscar he received for best actor to President Zelensky until Ukraine "wins" the war against Russia. What does his gift symbolize?

Sean Penn won his second Oscar in 2009 for best actor for his portrayal of a gay rights activist named Harvey in the movie Milk. His first win was in 2004 for his lead role in Mystic River. Now, Penn has given one of his Oscars to President Zelensky to keep.

"This is for you," the actor says to the Ukrainian president. "No, Sean, that is yours," says Zelensky. "No, no, I feel terrible – I just, it's just a symbolic, silly thing. But if I know this is here, with you, then I'll feel better and stronger enough for the fight." Penn tells Zelensky that when he wins, he can bring the award back to Malibu, but in the meantime, he will feel better knowing that there is a "piece" of him there with Zelensky.

So what does Penn's Oscar gift symbolize, exactly? Well, Penn is gifting his legacy – the Oscar – as a gesture of his "faith" toward Ukraine's victory over Russia. Others, however, believe it's something else. "Certain truth in this," commented @Planter5657.

"He earned best actor," he adds. "Accidentally appropriate," writes @ZebrewEsq

Besides Zelensky's numerous televised appearances (and the dramatic Vogue photoshoot with his wife), the media has also flooded American viewers with old clips and fake videos of the ongoing events in Ukraine. As a result, citizens have begun to question the president's integrity.

Earlier this year, several announcements came out about Penn working on a documentary in Ukraine about Russia's invasion. Other celebrities have also met with President Zelensky, including Ben Stiller and Angelina Jolie. But while Zelensky's frequent media appearances and celeb meetings may have been in the name of "raising awareness," the Ukrainian president has gained criticism over it. Even still, Zelensky – who was previously in showbiz as a comedian and actor – continues to involve himself with the media and Hollywood to shed a light on Ukraine and Russia.

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