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Academy sues over auctioned 1942 Oscar statuette

LOS ANGELES--The organization that hosts the Academy Awards has sued over the recent auction of a 1942 Oscar awarded to the art director of “My Gal Sal” and is seeking to buy back the statuette for US$10.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Rhode Island-based Briarbrook Auction Services.

Briarbrook sold the Oscar for US$79,200 on June 24. “My Gal Sal” starred Rita Hayworth, and the art direction award to Joseph Wright was its only Academy Award win.

The academy adopted a rule in 1951 prohibiting winners or their heirs from selling Oscars. It is seeking an order requiring Briarbrook to sell it the Oscar for US$10 in accordance with the academy bylaws.

Briarbrook owner Nanci Thompon said she has not seen the lawsuit. But she noted that Wright's Oscar predated the academy's sales prohibition and said her company was careful before offering it for sale.

The lawsuit does not identify who purchased the statuette.

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