Superior Court Judge Mark Hanasono said Wednesday that there was sufficient evidence for Terry Bryant to stand trial for stealing the gold statuette McDormand won for her role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
The ruling came after a hearing in which a worker with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences testified about taking the Oscar away from Bryant as he tried to leave the ceremony's official after party.
Cesario Tio, who was escorting a photographer taking photos at the ball, said he heard on a walkie-talkie that McDormand's Oscar was missing. He said he saw a man, who he identified in court as Bryant, walk out of the ball holding a statuette and yelling, "We did it! We did it."
Tio said neither he nor the photographer he was escorting recognized the man. The photographer took a photo of Bryant, who said his statuette was won for best producer on Get Out, which Tio said he immediately knew was not an award.
A blow-up image from the photographer's camera showed a portion of McDormand's name engraved on the award, at which point Tio said he took the statuette from Bryant.
"He said, 'Hey, I'm holding that for a friend,'" Tio testified Wednesday. He said Bryant followed him back into the Governors Ball, where Tio handed the award to security. He did not see Bryant, 47, again.
Bryant's attorney, Daniel Brookman, argued in court that the charge against Bryant should be dismissed because he didn't try to hide the fact that he had McDormand's award. "There was never any intent to deprive the owner of the property on a permanent basis," Brookman said.
He also argued that McDormand did not want Bryant to be prosecuted, displaying a detective's report that said she "stated she is not desirous of prosecution." McDormand did not attend Wednesday's hearing.
A lawyer for the Academy said the statuette cost the organization between $2,300 and $2,500 for it to purchase. The lawyer said that the award was probably priceless to most winners and noted that winners could not sell the on the open market or give them away to anyone but their heirs.
After the court ruling, Bryant could reportedly be heard saying, "God is on my side."
He is due to be arraigned Aug. 8.
Bryant reportedly regularly shows up to award ceremonies and claims to be a "Producer, A-list Entertainment journalist, TV Film & Music Producer, A&E Editor Actor, TV Host, UN Ambassador" on his Instagram profile. During the Oscars weekend, he posted photos from the Swarovski party in West Hollywood and another from the Cadillac party at the Chateau Marmont.
Photo Credit: Instagram / @djmatari