Sotheby's to sell Orson Welles' Academy Award for Citizen Kane - December 11, 2007 On December 11, 2007, Sotheby’s New York will offer for sale an icon of American film -- Orson Welles’ own 1941 Academy Award for Best Screenplay for the renowned masterpiece, Citizen Kane
News-Antique.com - Oct 23,2007 - NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES - October 16, 2007 –- On December 11, 2007, Sotheby’s New York will offer for sale an icon of American film and one of the most important pieces of movie memorabilia ever to come to auction -- Orson Welles’ own 1941 Academy Award for Best Screenplay for the renowned masterpiece, Citizen Kane. Widely considered the greatest film of all time, Welles’ cinematic masterpiece was voted the number one film in history by the American Film Institute in 2007 and by the British Film Institute in 2002.
The Oscar®, once believed to be lost by Welles himself, resurfaced in 1994 and, after a lengthy legal battle, was returned to the Orson Welles Estate. The award was acquired from the Welles Estate in 2003 on behalf of the Dax Foundation, a Los Angeles-based, non-profit, charitable foundation which is selling the Oscar® and using all of the proceeds to help fund the organization’s charitable initiatives and worldwide humanitarian efforts. The Academy Award, which is estimated to sell for $800,000/1.2 million, will be on public exhibition at Sotheby’s from December 7-10 prior to its sale on December 11, 2007*.
“Citizen Kane is Welles at genius level,” said Leila Dunbar, Director of Sotheby’s Collectibles Department. “Welles was fearless in writing and presenting the story of a powerful mogul such as William Randolph Hearst despite the consequences, and the movie broke new ground in its innovative photography, editing and sound. Citizen Kane is probably the world’s most famous film and for the past six decades has and continues to influence generations of filmmakers.”
Remarkably, Citizen Kane stands as Orson Welles’ first feature film after his move to Hollywood at just 25 years of age. The film records the story of publishing magnate Charles Foster Kane whose early career was guided by a loyalty to the greater social good, a path which would later deteriorate to a narcissistic quest for individual supremacy. Widely understood as being based on the life of American publishing baron, William Randolph Hearst, the film was the subject of a smear campaign, ignored by all media outlets under the Hearst umbrella and the movie ultimately underperformed at the box office, although it received universal critical raves for its remarkable writing and production. Nominated for three Oscars at the 1942 Academy Awards for writer (with Herman J. Mankiewicz), director and actor in a leading role, Welles received only one golden statuette that evening, and it remained the only Academy Award he won in his lifetime. Even more shocking, the film was not even nominated for Best Picture, as the far less controversial (and memorable) “How Green Was My Valley” took home the award.
Welles continued to write, direct, produce and perform film and radio productions throughout the rest of his life, but none would receive the attention, nor the acclaim of Citizen Kane. In 1971, Welles received an Honorary Award for his contribution to the history of motion pictures and in 1975 the American Film Institute gave him