BURR RIDGE, Ill.– What was billed as Leo McCarey’s best-director Oscar for 1944’s Going My Way has been voluntarily withdrawn from the current online sale conducted by Mastro Auctions. The trophy was deemed a fake.
Academy experts called the statuette a “high-quality counterfeit.” They determined the award was comprised of two mismatched parts, neither of which belonged to McCarey’s original Oscar. The base was authentic, the experts said, but its nameplate had been removed and replaced with a phony one identifying it as McCarey’s directing award for Going My Way, which also won best picture and other honors.
The statuette itself was a close copy, said the Academy’s executive administrator Ric Robertson, but it weighed one pound more than an authentic Oscar. Counterfeit Oscars are nothing new, said Academy spokeswoman Leslie Unger, but this was the first time a phony was offered for sale as a specific Oscar with a recipient’s name attached.
The person who consigned the statuette to the auction company was not identified. Robertson said in a statement that “there were indications that the individual who consigned the statuette to the auctioneers may have himself been misled at the time he acquired it.” He added that the Academy would try to identify who made the copy and “pursue its legal options.”