Does the auction of Oscar statuettes dilute the "purity" of the Oscars? The New York Times has a piece up on the dirty little business of the auctioning of old Oscars - a big business these days, as awards for major categories can go for prices in the millions. Since 1950, recipients have had to sign waivers pledging not to sell their trophies, but there's still quite a collectors' market for older Oscars.

At the crux of the Oscar-auctioning issue are two opposing parties: the Academy, which seeks to preserve the integrity (cough cough) of the Academy Awards, and the surviving family members of past Oscar winners, who want the right to sell off old Oscars for cash. Orson Welles' daughter Beatrice fought two court battles over her father's 1941 Best Original Screenplay for Citizen Kane - first with Welles' cinematographer, Gary Graver, who had the trophy (he claimed Welles had given it to him), and then with the Academy for the right to sell it to raise funds for animal rights causes.

[ via The Carpetbagger ]