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FAKE HONOR RAISES REAL COMPLAINTS ACADEMY: CLINTON'S 'OSCAR' INAPPROPRIATE.

Byline: Fred Shuster Staff Writer

The folks who honor fantasy on celluloid have to draw the line somewhere - and they did Wednesday over the phony Oscar presented to President Clinton by Gov. Gray Davis.

Davis handed Clinton the mock fiberglass trophy as an ``honorary Oscar for his achievements as president'' during the California Welcome party on the Paramount Pictures lot Monday night in Hollywood.

However, John Pavlik, spokesman for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, wants to make clear that the statuette ``wasn't really an Oscar - it was a counterfeit Oscar being used in an inappropriate way.''

Ironically, the Academy's reputation for holding on to its Oscars hasn't been that stellar lately. Earlier this year, 55 Oscars en route from Chicago to Los Angeles disappeared from a loading dock in Bell about a week before the Oscars ceremony.

Just in time, though, 52 of the missing statuettes were found by Los Angeles junk salvager Willie Fulgear in a trash bin in Koreatown, a discovery that made him almost as famous as the celebs the Academy honors.

Fulgear was invited to the Academy Awards ceremony and was given a $50,000 reward by the shipping company, Roadway Express. A Roadway Express employee accused of stealing the statuettes pleaded no contest to grand theft and was sentenced to five years' probation.

The three missing Oscars failed to turn up, prompting comedian Billy Crystal to joke at the ceremony that actor Jack Nicholson has three Oscars, ``but so does some guy in Bell.''

No, the one given Clinton was not one of the missing Oscars, but a prop.

Gabriel Sanchez, spokesman for Davis, said the governor didn't realize the use of a prop Oscar would pose a problem and added that everyone at the party realized it was a fake.

Yet another Hollywood fantasy.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

President Clinton receives a phony Oscar from Gov. Gray Davis at a Democratic Party event Monday at the Paramount Studios. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made an effort to make sure no one mistakenly thinks the trophy is real.

Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 17, 2000
Words:355
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