Since 1951, the Academy has required Oscar winners to sign an agreement whereby they agree to sell their Oscar statuette back to the Academy before offering it to anyone else.

However, if the owner of an Oscar dies, or simply ignores the agreement and gives or sells the Oscar to someone else, can the Academy contest. For example, let's imagine that an Oscar winner gives their Oscar to their child. Can the Academy somehow sue the child to recover the Oscar or make some claim that the Oscar is "stolen", even though the owner freely gave it to their child in violation of the agreement?

  • 3
    I feel really tempted to say "yes, but it takes a lot of talent."
    – cpast
    Oct 15, 2019 at 1:41
  • Do you have a copy of the actual agreement?
    – bdowling
    Oct 15, 2019 at 4:16

1 Answer 1


The relevant clause is:

Academy Award winners have no rights whatsoever in the Academy copyright or goodwill in the Oscar statuette or in its trademark and service mark registrations. Award winners must comply with these rules and regulations. Award winners shall not sell or otherwise dispose of the Oscar statuette, nor permit it to be sold or disposed of by operation of law, without first offering to sell it to the Academy for the sum of $1.00. This provision shall apply also to the heirs and assigns of Academy Award winners who may acquire a statuette by gift or bequest.

It appears that the statuette can be gifted or bequeathed but the obligation to offer right of refusal to the Academy remains with the gift. The gift or bequest is therefore conditional - if the recipient doesn’t accept the condition they have to refuse the gift.

If the Academy was offered the statuette and refused to buy it (for $1), then it could be freely sold (and sold again and again) thereafter.

  • 1
    What would happen if a statuette was sold and the Acadamy sued? Would they be able to recover the statuette from the buyer or would their remedy be limited to damages from the seller?
    – bdowling
    Oct 15, 2019 at 6:18
  • @bdowling good question- please ask it
    – Dale M
    Oct 15, 2019 at 6:22
  • 2
    Also, what if you just rent out the statuette for 100 years? Oct 15, 2019 at 9:34
  • 3
    The last sentence appears to be legally void. A contract cannot bind non-contract parties.
    – MSalters
    Oct 15, 2019 at 10:33
  • 2
    @MSalters I don’t think so - it it would be a condition of the gift - the gifted party can refuse the gift if they don’t accept the condition.
    – Dale M
    Oct 15, 2019 at 10:44

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