Sean Penn Just Loaned His Oscar To A President

Sean Penn just gave one of his Oscars to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as a "symbol of faith."

By Matthew Creith | Published

Actor and activist Sean Penn is typically Hollywood’s strongman when it comes to global natural disasters and political strife, often lending his talents and resources to help those in need. Penn is a two-time Academy Award winner for Best Actor, having won for playing Jimmy Markum in the Clint Eastwood mystery drama Mystic River, as well as for portraying gay rights politician Harvey Milk in Milk. According to CBS News, Sean Penn recently gifted one of his Oscar statues to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as what he called a “symbol of faith” for the Ukrainian people to overcome their current conflict with Russia.

Not the first time Sean Penn has visited with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, this most recent visit brought more positive news as the two men posed for pictures with Penn’s Oscar statue for social media. Zelenskyy has promised that Penn’s award will remain in Ukraine until the war with Russia concludes, as Penn would like the Ukrainian President to return the statue to him at his Malibu, California home when the war is finally over. As a token of good faith among what appears to be two friends enjoying a nice symbolic gesture, President Zelenskyy also honored Penn with the Order of Merit of the III degree, which celebrates those who have provided outstanding service to the country of Ukraine.

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Sean Penn in his Oscar-winning role in Mystic River (2003)

Prior to his visits to Ukraine, Sean Penn became known for his humanitarian efforts in parts of the world that many celebrities would dare not travel. Penn has supported efforts to aid victims of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, typically traveling to dangerous zones to physically lend a hand. He founded and currently runs a non-profit organization called Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), which started administrating COVID-19 tests for free within the United States in March 2020.

A controversial figure for visiting with dictators like Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and interviewing international criminals such as Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Sean Penn is primarily known for his acting talents in film. Having launched to stardom as Jeff Spicoli in Cameron Crowe’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Penn solidified his place on the big screen in an Academy Award-nominated turn in the Susan Sarandon feature Dead Man Walking. Since then, his roles in Mystic River and Milk have helped define Penn as an acclaimed actor known worldwide for his approach to his craft.

Outside of visits with dictators and well-liked Presidents, Sean Penn has recently focused on independent features, directorial efforts, and costarring in supporting roles on film and television. His 2021 movie Flag Day starring his daughter Dylan Penn received mixed reviews from critics, but his supporting turns in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza and portraying John Mitchell in Gaslit alongside Julia Roberts gained him recognition within the last year. Penn will next be seen in the upcoming thriller Black Flies with Tye Sheridan and Michael Pitt, which concluded filming last year.