Oscars to go under the hammer

2012-02-28 15:18
Los Angeles - A US auction house is selling a collection of Oscar statuettes valued at over $1m two days after the Academy Awards, despite an official protest, organisers have said.

The collection of 15 of the gold-plated prizes includes one for the Best Screenplay Academy Award for iconic movie Citizen Kane, given to Herman Mankiewicz in 1941.

The 1933 Best Picture Oscar for Cavalcade, a 1939 cinematography Oscar for Wuthering Heights and Charles Coburn's 1943 best supporting actor Oscar for The More the Merrier will also go under the hammer.

"This is the most significant collection of Oscars to ever be auctioned. It contains Academy Awards from epic films such as Citizen Kane and The Best Years of Our Lives," said Los Angeles auction house owner Nate Sanders.

"Furthermore, Cavalcade is the earliest Best Picture Oscar to ever be offered in an auction," he added.

'Oscars should be won, not purchased'

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organises the Oscars, condemned the sale.

"The Academy, its members and the many film artists and craftspeople who've won Academy Awards believe strongly that Oscars should be won, not purchased," said an Academy statement cited by the LA Times.

"Unfortunately, because our winners agreement wasn't instituted until 1950, we don't have any legal means of stopping the commoditisation of these particular statuettes," it added.

The Academy did not respond to a request for comment or confirmation of its view on the sale.

The online and telephone auction is due to take place tomorrow. In December last year the same auction house sold the Oscar statuette given to Orson Welles for Citizen Kane for nearly $900 000.