A Best Director Oscar which was set to go under the hammer at auction later this month (AUG06) has been declared a "high quality counterfeit" by Academy Awards experts. Auctioneers Mastro Auctions brought the statuette, which was supposedly presented to director Leo McCarey in 1944, to the officials at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) for authentication and they've been told the gold man is a fake. The experts grew suspicious when MCCarey's daughter MARY told them that all three of the Oscars her father had won during his illustrious career were still in her possession. The sale of the statuette, which was due to take place on the Internet on 16 August (06), has now been cancelled. Academy executive administrator RIC ROBERTSON says, "The lower section (of the statuette) is an authentic Academy Award base with its original identifying plate pried off and replaced with a far more recent plate inaccurately identifying the statuette as the 1944 Directing award. "The statuette is a close copy of an Oscar but weighs a full pound more than an authentic one." Academy bosses have launched an investigation in an attempt to identify those who had unlawfully reproduced its copyrighted award.