Orson Welles's Oscar on your mantle

Posted by · 10:51 pm · December 12th, 2011

Here”s one for wealthy and eccentric cinephiles: The Wrap reports that Orson Welles” solitary Oscar is up for auction.

Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect on the fact that what is now considered one of the most significant films of all time, “Citizen Kane,” only took home the Oscar for Best Screenplay (though it was nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor). If I were forced to select just one category for a “Citizen Kane” win, it would be Best Director. The innovative techniques Welles employed to get the shots he wanted to tell his story were as effective as they were influential. Alas, as Aaron Sorkin writes in the “Moneyball” script, “the first one through the wall always gets bloodied.”

The history of Welles’s golden statue is storied and apropos. The writer/actor/director originally gave his Oscar to cinematographer Gary Graver (so much for sentiment). His daughter, Beatrice, then sued Graver for ownership. She went on to give the Award to a Los Angeles-based charity called Dax Foundation. (Looks like material detachment may be in the bloodlines – they took the lessons of “Kane” to heart it would seem).

The Foundation”s self-described mission statement is to “identify and engage with key individuals and groups who have a vision and commitment to improve the lives of all people and animals around the world.” We”re not entirely sure what that means, but by the looks of their website, they support a variety of charitable programs. So the sale will go to at least one good cause if not several.

They made an attempt to auction the statue back in 2003 but there were no bids that went over the reserve price. So one would hope that in this, the year of cinema history celebration, some plucky and disposable income-endowed lover of cinema and kitsch alike will step forward and do the right thing by Orson Welles’s Oscar.

Why do I feel like the odds-on favorite for this is Gary Busey? That”s how it pans out in my imagination, in any event.

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