Cuba Gooding Jr. hides his Oscar in his theatre room.

The 45-year-old actor won the Best Supporting Actor trophy in 1996 for his role in sports comedy 'Jerry Maguire', and it is so precious to him he keeps it under lock and key at his Los Angeles home.

When asked where the Oscar is, he replied: ''Under protection. In my theatre room.''

Cuba admits his career has not reached the same heights since, but it is down to his personal choice of roles.

He added to the New York Post newspaper: ''My post-Academy Award years weren't great choices for me as an artist. It's been a problem. Caught in the trappings, that private-jets way of life, I had to deal with my stubbornness and the fame hype. I picked low-budget films.

''I've had ups and downs, but it afforded me respect. No matter if I slid or how bad those other movies I made, I can still say, 'Yeah, but I got an Oscar'.''

Cuba - who is currently starring in stage show 'The Trip to Bountiful' in New York, where he was brought up - also explained where his unusual name came from.

He said: ''Legends float around about my background. My grandfather, a sea merchant in Cuba, came here, drove a cab, got a nickname instead of Dudley, and so, I, too, became 'Cuba.' ''