Academy Award for 'Citizen Kane' fetches high price at auction
Oscar fetches $861,542 at online auction
"Citizen Kane," considered by many as the greatest American film of all
time, only won a single Oscar for best screenplay in 1941. Now - that
prized statuette has fetched $861,542 in an online auction, perhaps more
than what the film cost to make in the forties!
Much admired, 'Citizen Kane' was never really accorded its due at the time of its original release. Welles, who portrayed a fictional media tycoon loosely based on William Randolph Hearst, lost to Gary Cooper in 'Sergeant York' for the best actor award that year.
Nate D. Sanders Auctions did not identify the winning bidder - but noted that illusionist David Copperfield was an unsuccessful bidder.
"Orson Welles was not only a magician of the cinema, but also a performing magician himself," Copperfield in news release.
Welles was 25 when he wrote, directed and starred in "Citizen Kane," which the American Film Institute picked in 2007 as the top film of the previous century.
The academy tried to stop another auction of one of their coveted awards in 2003. An academy official testified then that the award's value was at least $1 million.
A judge cleared the way for auction with a ruling in 2004 that Welles never signed the academy's agreement not to sell the trophy, according to Nate D. Sanders Auctions spokesman Sam Heller.
The academy has aggressively challenged efforts to sell Oscar trophies. In 2008, the academy successfully halted the sale of two Oscars awarded to silent film star Mary Pickford. A Los Angeles jury ruled the descendants of a woman who was married to Pickford's third husband could only sell the statuettes back to the academy for a price of $10.
The auction house declined to identify the seller, although it was known to be in the hands of Beatrice Welles, the actor's youngest daughter, after she recovered it from a planned auction in 1993. It had been "assumed to be lost" for decades but was apparently in the hands of a cinematographer who got it from Welles.
An attempt to sell it at auction in 2007 failed to draw a buyer when it was included in a lot of historical manuscripts, not movie memorabilia, Heller said.
"Citizen Kane," Welles' first feature film, was nominated for nine Oscars but won just for best screenplay, which Welles shared with co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz.
Much admired, "Citizen Kane" was never really accorded its due at the time of its original release. Welles, who portrayed a fictional media tycoon loosely based on William Randolph Hearst, lost to Gary Cooper in "Sergeant York" for the best actor award that year. John Ford's direction of "How Green Was My Valley" beat Welles for best director.
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Keywords: Citizen kane, Orson Welles, Oscar, auction
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