As it has dozens of times before, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has sued in response to someone trying to make a buck hawking an Oscar. This time the case involves a statuette sold to an unknown buyer for nearly $80,000 just one week ago. In a suit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), the Academy takes umbrage to Briarbrook Auction Services auctioning off the Oscar awarded to Joseph Wright in 1942 for his color and art direction on My Gal Sal. The Academy’s bylaws strictly spell out that neither the recipients of the awards nor their successors — Wright died in 1985 — can sell the statuettes without first offering them to the Academy. The suit says Academy officials sent a letter explaining its rules to the Rhode Island-based auction house and followed with calls — one of which, it says, ended with the woman who answered hanging up with she learned it was Hollywood calling. The suit says Briarbrook auctioned off the Oscar on June 24 anyway, netting $79,200. Now the Academy is suing for that amount and other damages and seeking a jury trial. Attorneys Gary Gans, Christopher Tayback and William Rollins of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan are representing the Academy.
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