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Academy can reclaim Oscar statue for $10, court rules

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Toby Canham/Getty Images

And the Oscar goes to… the Academy. For a mere $10.

A California judge has ruled that nobody can sell an Oscar statuette without first offering the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences the right of first refusal to purchase it. The rule, which has been in place since 1951, was upheld by Superior Court Judge Gail Ruderman Feuer after an auction house sold an Oscar statuette without the Academy’s permission.

The Oscar, awarded to Joseph Wright for color art direction on 1942’s My Gal Salwas purchased for $79,200 by a Los Angeles-based auction house. The court allowed the Academy to reclaim the statuette for $10.

“The Oscar is perhaps the world’s most distinctive and prestigious award for achievement in the arts,” Gary E. Gans, the lawyer who successfully represented the Academy in the case, said in a statement. “This case established that the Academy can maintain the dignity and value of such an award by keeping it from becoming a commodity.”

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