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Friday, 17 March, 2000, 09:04 GMT
Oscar statuettes go missing
Oscar statuettes
The Oscar statuettes were en route to Hollywood
A shipment of Oscar statuettes that were to be handed out at this month's Academy Awards ceremony have apparently been stolen en route from Chicago to Beverly Hills.

They were taken from a loading dock of a shipping company near Los Angeles, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences officials have admitted.
Oscar factfile
The statuettes are made from alloy britannium
They are then plated in copper, nickel silver, then 24-karat gold
Each statuette is 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 lbs
"Oscar" was designed by MGM's chief art director Cedric Gibbons
The statuette features a knight holding a crusader's sword, standing on a reel of film

In a statement, they said the Oscars were "apparently stolen" from a Roadway Express Co. loading dock in the Los Angeles suburb of Bell after being shipped by their manufacturer in Chicago.

Police spokesmen said they had no details about the apparent theft and that all comment on it was being made by the Academy.

Academy president Robert Rehme told The Hollywood Reporter newspaper that he thought a "crateful" had disappeared and none of the 54 statuettes had been inscribed yet.

The Academy's executive director Bruce Davis is expected to reveal more details at a press conference later on Friday.

Red faces

It is the second hiccup in the run-up to the Acadermy Awards on 26 March.

Two weeks ago, 4,000 ballots mailed to voters in the Los Angeles area failed to be delivered and new ballots had to be sent out.

The deadline for returning the ballots was extended from 21 March to 23 March - just three days before the awards show.

The BBC's David Willis
"They're certainly not worth their weight in gold"
See also:

14 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Oscar nominees out to lunch
15 Feb 00 | Entertainment
American Beauty leads Oscars field
23 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Dame Judi's Oscar night
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