REPORTER FINDS PIC OF HER MOM HOLDING STATUETTE, TRIES TO FIND SOURCE
The Oakland Tribune's Angela Hill has been going through boxes of old photos, and found one from the early 1980s of her mother "beaming her 100-watt smile as she cradled an Oscar in her hands." In an attempt to find out how and why her mother was holding what appeared to be a genuine Oscar statuette while standing in some sort of office building, Hill followed her hunch that there might be a connection to Foothill College in Los Altos, which she vaguely remembers touring with her mother when she was younger. Hill contacted the Foothill public relations office, where Lori Thomas answered the call, did some checking, and found a possible link to Bart De Palma, Brian De Palma's older brother (who has worked on several of Brian's films over the years). Here is how Hill describes getting the call from Thomas:
Lori said the college had indeed had an Oscar! Briefly. In the early '80s. A couple of retired profs remembered former Foothill art and film instructor Barton DePalma -- brother of famed director Brian DePalma ("Scarface," "Carrie," "The Untouchables") -- had possibly borrowed the statuette and brought it in to the faculty offices for a few days to show it off. "I'm willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that was it," Lori said.
I'll take the doughnuts, Lori, but there's still more mystery. Whose Oscar was it? It wasn't Brian DePalma's -- he's racked up some Golden Globes (and even five Razzies) over the years, but has been snubbed by the Academy. Sure, it could have been an obscure Oscar for something like "development of a system of xenon arc lamphouses" and "engineering of fluid-damped camera heads," but there didn't seem to be anything at all for any of DePalma's films except a best supporting actor win for Sean Connery in 1987 for "The Untouchables," but that didn't match the time frame. If it had indeed been something Sean Connery had touched, my mom definitely would have stolen it.
I tried to call Barton DePalma, who may or may not live in Menlo Park and/or New Mexico, according to the Internet. I left a couple of messages/crank calls here and there. So we'll see what comes of that.