A mystery celeb has bought Joseph C.Wright's 15th Academy Award win.
An Oscar trophy dating back to 1942 has been sold at auction for $79,000, a figure far above the auctioneers estimate of $5,000 - $30,000. The iconic, shining award, which was given to Joseph C. Wright at the 15th Academy Awards, was bought by an unnamed buyer, though the auction house has teased that we "would recognize the name."
At the 1943 ceremony honouring films released the previous year, Wright picked up the award for his color art direction for the 1942 musical My Gal Sal which starred Rita Hayworth and Victor Mature. Wright received 12 Academy Award nominations and won twice. After Wright died in 1985 at the age of 92, the Oscar was passed on to his nephew, according to The AP.
The auctioneers are remaining tight-lipped over the identity of the buyer, leading to inevitable speculation regarding whether an A-list actor or filmmaker made the nostalgic and rare purchase to celebrate the days of Old Hollywood.
The statue, which weighs 6 pounds and measures 13 inches, is one of two Oscars that the art director picked up at the same ceremony. He received the other trophy for black-and-white art direction in the 1942 wartime drama, This Above All, which starred Tyrone Power and Joan Fontaine. He shared both awards with fellow art director, Richard Day.
Nancy Thompson of Rhode Island's Briarbrook Auctions said that the final sale price included a 20 percent buyer's premium for the 1942 Oscar. Thompson also drew attention to the Academy's strict guidelines regarding the sale of an Oscar.
Prior to the auction, the Academy was investigating the statue's sale. Their rule states that starting from 1950 the Oscar winners or their heirs are not allowed to sell the trophies without first offering them back to the Academy for $1. However, this did not apply to Wright's prize because it was awarded before 1950.
"It's something you don't ever run into," Thompson said of the auction. "The Academy is very diligent about pursuing lawsuits if they hear about an Oscar awarded after 1950 being sold."