This weekend’s New York Times offers a glimpse into the spectral world of gray market Oscar trophy trafficking. The correspondent’s name alone makes the piece worth reading: Don’t you want to know what the NYT’s Heathcliff Rothman has to say on the matter?
(Apparently, if an Oscar was awarded before 1950, it’s fair game for heirs (or hardluck cases) to sell. Who knew?)
This makes the Academy, well, verklempt:
Bruce Davis, the academy’s executive director, defends his organization’s crusade by saying: “The more that Oscars are sold, the more it enables the idea of them as collectible items. This is an award for artistic excellence. So while no particular one is a disaster for us, every time one goes it’s another ax stroke.”
Those sympathizing with the academy include the director Steven Spielberg and the actor-producer Kevin Spacey – both Oscar winners. They have jumped into the fray by digging into their wallets to rescue Oscars at public auction and then returning the statuettes to the academy. Mr. Spielberg has spent nearly $1.5 million for the cause. He paid $607,500 for Clark Gable’s 1934 Oscar, for “It Happened One Night”; $578,000 for Bette Davis’s 1938 Oscar, for “Jezebel”; and $207,500 for Davis’s 1935 Oscar, for “Dangerous.” Mr. Spacey paid $156,875 for the composer George Stoll’s 1945 Oscar for “Anchors Aweigh.”
It makes us wonder: How much would Marisa Tomei‘s hardware from “My Cousin Vinny” fetch?