Many of us will never have the chance to win an Oscar, but those who have a lot of extra money just burning a hole in their bank accounts can possibly purchase one of three Oscars going up for auction. In a rare occurrence, two actual Best Picture Academy Award statuettes are going up for auction, as well as an art direction Oscar. Since The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences frowns upon this time of thing, it rarely happens and as such, this is a pretty significant occasion.
The items are part of an upcoming auction being held by Profiles In History on December 11. As part of the massive collection of Hollywood memorabilia being sold to the highest bidder, the auction will feature the Best Picture Oscar for Mutiny on the Bounty, which was awarded in 1936, as well as one awarded for Gentleman’s Agreement in 1948. Also included is the Oscar awarded to 1950’s classic Sunset Boulevard for art direction. All three statuettes are expected to fetch large sums, but the Best Picture awards are looking at six-figure final sale prices.
Mutiny on the Bounty won the Academy Award for Best Picture when the ceremony was still in its relative infancy, as it had been going on for less than a decade at that point. Frank Capra presented the award to Irving Thalberg back when the ceremony took place at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Thalberg’s family is putting the award up for auction for the first time ever. It’s expected to go for between $200,000 and $300,000. Gentleman’s Agreement, the legendary classic about anti-semitism which stars Gregory Peck is being sold by someone who has chosen to remain anonymous. That award is expected to go for between $150,000 and $200,000.
The selling of actual Oscars is uncommon for a few reasons. Primarily, those who are lucky enough to win an Oscar aren’t likely to ever part with them. However, some people just aren’t that sentimental or they may find themselves a bit hard up. But starting in 1951, any winners of an Oscar who wish to sell their award must first offer to sell it to The Academy for $1 before they’re allowed to offer it up elsewhere. As such, it’s extremely uncommon for an actual Oscar to ever go up for auction and that’s also why the majority of the time that it does happen, the awards were given out prior to 1951.
From time to time, a major Academy Award does wind up in someone else’s hands. The late Michael Jackson famously purchased David O. Selznick’s Gone With the Wind Oscar for an eye-popping $1.5 million in 1999. More recently, Orson Welles’ Oscar for his classic Citizen Kane was sold in 2011 for $861,542, and James Cagney’s Oscar for Best Actor for his work in 1942’s Yankee Doodle Dandy went up for auction in 2014, but wasn’t sold as it didn’t meet the minimum demand, which was set at $800,000. For more information on the upcoming auction, head on over to Profiles In History.