‘Heroin Oscar’ Inspired by Philip Seymour Hoffman On Display Near Academy Awards

By Shawn Dwyer 03/03/14

A controversial statue of an Oscar with its arm tied off and holding a hypodermic needle caused a strong social media reaction.

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Two days before the Academy Awards, Los Angeles-based street artist Plastic Jesus displayed an eight foot replica of an Oscar shooting heroin into its arm. Inspired by the overdose death of Academy Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, the statue was placed on Hollywood Boulevard just blocks away from the Kodak Theater where the Oscars were to be held.

“Hard drugs are still seen as a taboo subject, with people using in the privacy of their own home or hotel room and afraid of the consequences if the world finds out about their addiction,” Plastic Jesus said in a statement. “My piece is intended to say ‘let’s be aware of the issue, remove the stigma and enable people to get help and support.'”

Heroin addiction and overdose has taken a personal toll on the artist, which also contributed to his inspiration. “My cousin and his wife both died from heroin addictions. They both got clean and actually met in rehab and got married and got [a] house," he said. "Sadly, one relapsed and caused the other to relapse.”

Reactions across the social media landscape were decidedly mixed, with some apparently "disgusted" by the display while others declared the statue to be "a powerful piece of commentary."

Last Friday, Hoffman's autopsy report was released and revealed that the actor died of a lethal mix of heroin, cocaine, amphetamines, and benzodiazepines. On Oscar night, Hoffman was prominently featured in the Academy's annual In Memoriam tribute during the telecast.

Watch the Oscars In Memoriam tribute:

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Shawn Dwyer is a writer, editor and content producer living in Los Angeles. You can find him on Linkedin.

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