Oscar’s lawyers are raising “Kane.”
Christie’s auction house was scheduled to put Orson Welles’ statuette under the gavel on Friday, but the item has been withdrawn after a protest from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Welles won as co-scripter of 1941 pic “Citizen Kane.” Beatrice Welles, the filmmaker’s daughter, had planned to auction the trophy. But since 1950, the Academy has demanded that recipients sign an agreement giving AMPAS the right to buy back a statuette for $1 if it is to be put up for sale.
Although Welles’ Oscar win predates the agreement, Beatrice Welles signed the pact when the Academy gave her a replacement award when the original was thought to be lost.
The original Oscar later was recovered. So she has two trophies, but the agreement applies to both.
Talks are ongoing between Acad lawyers and Beatrice Welles’ attorney about whether she can completely withdraw the trophy or whether, once it was announced for sale, it now falls under the Academy’s domain.
The Acad has consistently tried to discourage the sale of awards handed out before 1950. A surprisingly large number of those trophies fall under the pact, since winners have signed the first-refusal document when they requested repairs on their awards.
“The Oscar will not be offered for sale,” said Bendetta Roux at Christie’s in New York. “We have decided that the dispute between the Academy and our consignor was still ongoing and not settled.”