1942 Oscar to be auctioned in Rhode Island

EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (AP) — Movie buffs have a chance to buy their own Academy Award in a rare auction of an Oscar statuette.

Briarbrook Auctions in Rhode Island is auctioning the 1942 Oscar on Monday, although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was investigating the sale of the statuette. Since 1950, the academy has prohibited Oscar recipients and their heirs from selling the golden statuettes without first offering them back to the academy for $1. The auction house says the restriction does not apply because the Oscar was awarded before 1950.

The Oscar was awarded to Joseph C. Wright at the 15th Academy Awards for color art direction for his work on "My Gal Sal," starring Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature. Wright died in 1985, and his nephew inherited the award.

The auctioneer had estimated it would sell for $5,000 to $30,000, although the online bidding had already reached $32,000 several hours before the live auction began. The statuette weighs around 6 pounds and is 13 inches high. The auctioneer said it is in good condition, with just a little wear at the back.

Wright received 12 Academy Award nominations and won twice, both in 1942 and both shared with Richard Day. The other award was for black-and-white art direction for "This Above All," starring Tyrone Power and Joan Fontaine.

Wright also was nominated for his work on movies including "Days of Wine and Roses," ''Guys and Dolls" and the "Man With the Golden Arm."

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