It sounds like a blockbuster thriller: A Hollywood star’s Oscar goes missing the night that she wins it, and police finger a man who claims to be an industry insider. Is he who he really says he is? And, if he’s not, how did he get away with his performance, especially among a group of people who act and invent stories for a living? And what does Kathy Griffin have to do with it all?
A rundown of the facts in the case:
After all the pomp and ceremony of Sunday’s Oscars, McDormand, along with much of the Hollywood crowd, celebrated at the Governors Ball, the event’s official after-party. The Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri star was accepting well wishes when she noticed that her Oscar had gone missing from her table, moments after she had it engraved. She was “spotted crying emotionally outside the ball after giving up the search for the statuette on the premises and departing with her husband, filmmaker Joel Coen,” according to USA Today. Meanwhile, security joined the hunt.
How the suspect was caught
Actually, how didn’t he get caught? The alleged Oscar thief, whom police later identified as Terry Bryant, 47, posted a video on Facebook, which has since been taken down, showing him holding the Oscar. In the clip, Bryant pretended the award was his own, bragging to strangers. “This is mine,” he said. “We got this tonight… Governors all, baby… Who wants to tell me congratulations?” (Remember that McDormand’s name was clearly on the statuette’s base.)
Eventually, a photographer for Oscar chef Wolfgang Puck stopped Bryant and took the Oscar. Bryant split. That’s when New York Times reporter Cara Buckley tweeted a photo of Bryant, with a message that security was looking for him.
Security at the Governors Ball are looking for this guy, who grabbed Frances McDormand’s Oscar and ran out with it. Wolfgang Puck’s photographer stopped him, got the Oscar back, and the guy disappeared back into the ball. Apparently Frances has said to let him go. #Oscars #Drama pic.twitter.com/5tlsx4Ulwt
— Cara Buckley (@caraNYT) March 5, 2018
Bryant was found by security guards and arrested by Los Angeles police officers, according to the Associated Press. He handed over the award without a fight. LAPD spokeswoman Rosario Herrera said Bryant was arrested about 11:50 p.m. on suspicion of grand theft. His bail was set at $20,000, and he remained in police custody as of Monday morning.
McDormand’s publicist Simon Hall told the AP that McDormand got her Oscar back Sunday night. “After some brief time apart, Frances and her Oscar were happily reunited,” he said. “They celebrated the reunion with a double cheeseburger from In-N-Out Burger,” Halls said.
And, then, a twist: Herrera said Bryant had not sneaked into the event. He had a ticket.
What we know about said suspect
Bryant’s social media profiles don’t align with someone who would swipe an Oscar. For instance, the Facebook page with the video that appears to show Bryant bragging about his Oscar win, also features photo of him with several celebrities. There’s Beyoncé, Paris Hilton, Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel, Viola Davis, Betty White, and others. The photos appear to have been snapped at the biggest industry events, including the Golden Globe Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, the Grammys, and the BET Awards, as well as the biggest movie premieres, like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Black Panther.
Kathy Griffin tweeted about her apparent encounter with Bryant, although she doesn’t remember it.
I wasn’t invited to the Oscars this year, but I just learned that I once took a photo with the man who stole Frances McDormand’s Oscar…I’m practically Hollywood Royalty!!!! pic.twitter.com/C6jBws24oh
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) March 6, 2018
The Facebook page for “Terry Bryant Djmatari” (DjMatari) shares many of the same photos with the Instagram account for “Dj Matari.” The bio there reads, “I Love GOD I Am a highly favored of God! I am Producer,Alist Entertainment journalist,TV Film & Music Producer,A&E Editor Actor,TV Host,UN Ambassador.”
He likes claiming other people’s statues as his own: Here he is at the SAG Awards earlier this year:
He even has a YouTube page featuring music videos like this:
The (non) reveal
If this story were a movie, this would be the moment when everything clicks into place for the investigator… when she freezes and remembers things that happened throughout the story that seemed benign at the time, but in hindsight, they were clues to the truth. But this isn’t a story with a clear ending, at least not yet.
On Tuesday, TMZ reported that although McDormand didn’t want Bryant prosecuted, she technically can’t make such a decision; The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences legally still owns all Oscars and only allows winners to possess them. And they reportedly do want to prosecute Bryant, who was still in jail, according to the website.
On Tuesday afternoon, Bryant was charged with felony theft, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. He is expected to be arraigned Wednesday.
We’re going to have to wait — dun dun dun — maybe until next awards season.
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