Toronto producer J. Miles Dale wasn’t letting Oscar out of his sight Monday.
Following reports that Frances McDormand’s Academy Award for best actress was stolen from an after-party on Sunday night, Dale planned to keep his trophy close by.
“I’ll put it in my suitcase. That’s a hand-carry item proudly taken out at metal detectors,” Dale said a day after winning the best-picture Oscar along with director Guillermo del Toro for “The Shape of Water.”
“I imagine the flight attendants will get a photo,” he added with a laugh in a phone interview Monday.
“I’ve got meetings today, I’m taking it with me everywhere today…. I’m going to hold on tight until I get home and then where I put it, I don’t know.
“It won’t be a doorstop for my bathroom, I will tell you that.”
Dale said he was actually at the Oscar engraving station at the same time as McDormand and “had a laugh” with her at the Governors Ball on Sunday, before her trophy was allegedly stolen. A man was later arrested on suspicion of felony grand theft.
“The Shape of Water” team won four Oscars in total, including best production design for Canadians Paul Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin and Shane Vieau.
Meanwhile, del Toro won best director and Alexandre Desplat won best original score.
Dale said it felt like “the longest five seconds” of his life as he waited for the best-picture envelope to be opened.
“It’s like if you’ve ever been in a car crash, how it all goes through extreme slow-motion. It’s just like that and you kind of can’t breathe properly and your heart rate is really going, and I’m by nature a very calm and composed person.”
When “The Shape of Water” team got onstage to accept the best-picture honour, del Toro spoke and Dale tried to say a few follow-up words but was drowned out by music and his mic was cut off.
Dale was able to squeeze in some praise for del Toro after host Jimmy Kimmel approached him and asked what he wanted to say.
“I was just so filled with joy through all of this, it really didn’t matter,” Dale said.
“It’s not like when they turn the mic off they take the statue away. That’s certainly not what I’ll remember but it’s an amusing anecdote.
“I’ve got a story. And by the way — that was probably better than what my speech would have been.”
In a humorous bit throughout the night, Kimmel promised a Jet Ski to the winner with the most concise speech. It went to Oscar-winning “Phantom Thread” costume designer Mark Bridges.
“I told Jimmy Kimmel I should have won the Jet Ski, that’s really my principal complaint of the evening,” Dale joked.
“I felt like my speech was two words and it was unambiguous in terms of whose speech was the shortest of the night. I feel like I got one out of two — I got the trophy but I was robbed of the motorcraft.”
“The Shape of Water” was shot in Hamilton and Toronto and had a largely Canadian crew.
It was the first Oscar win for Dale, who also worked with del Toro on the 2013 film “Mama” and the horror drama series “The Strain.”
“It was the culmination of a long journey,” Dale said.
“You feel like the marathon runner who runs 20 miles and you can’t feel your legs anymore, and you run into the stadium and the crowd is cheering and you hit the tape.”