The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has filed a lawsuit over the auction of an Oscar trophy which went to an anonymous buyer for $79,200 a week ago. The trophy was awarded to Joseph Wright, who passed away in 1985, for his color art direction in 1942's movie "My Gal Sal". In the suit, filed at the Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday, July 1, the Academy names Wright's heirs, Briarbrook Auctions and the buyer as defendants.
The Academy does not allow Oscar winners and their heirs to sell the trophy. To prevent the sale, starting from 1951, Oscar winners sign an agreement in which they state that they or their heirs will not sell the statuette without offering it first to the Academy for $10.
In the suit, the Academy says that they have tried to alert the house regarding the trophy auction prior to the sale by letter and phone calls. However, a female staffer reportedly hung up after realizing that it was from the organization.
The Academy is now seeking compensatory damages in excess of $79,200 as well as punitive and exemplary damages. They also want to buy the trophy for $10 as stated in the bylaws.