The 62-year-old actor-director, hoping for a Ukrainian victory, asked Zelensky to keep the prized Oscar statuette with him until the end of the war. “It’s just a symbolic detail, but if I know it’s with you, I’ll feel better,” Ben said.
Zelensky initially did not want to accept the award, but agreed to return it to the actor after the war. “When you win, bring it back to Malibu,” Ben says in the video.
It was one of the two Oscars Ben won in his career. He received the most prestigious award in the film world for the first time in 2004 for his role in the film “The River of Secrets”, and for the second time in 2009 for “Citizen Milkha”.
At the same meeting, the President of Ukraine presented Ben with a new decoration. The country awarded the actor a 3rd degree Order of Merit for his support of Ukraine.
He also added the actor’s name to Courageous Avenue in Kyiv, which will honor leaders and representatives of other countries who have significantly supported Ukraine. First on the list is Andrej Duda.
Penn last met with Zelensky in June. Prior to this visit, Ben was in Ukraine on February 24, the day of the Russian invasion, filming material for a documentary about the unfolding crisis.
He was one of thousands of people who fled to Poland on foot when Russian rockets began hitting Ukrainian cities.
After his trip to Poland, he stopped in Krakow, where he organized a conference with the city’s mayor, Jacek Majchrowski. On behalf of the charity Core Response, he concluded a contract for humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees traveling through Krakow.
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