The 1942 Oscar presented to the U.S. Army for Frank Capra documentary PRELUDE TO WAR has been removed from the auction block and returned to the military.
The statuette, a duplicate Academy Award requested by and granted to the Department of Defense in 1958, was among items up for sale at an upcoming Christie's auction.
The unofficial Oscar went missing following the closure of the Army Pictorial Center, where it was housed, in 1970, and military officials only learned of its whereabouts when auction bosses came to them for authenticity.
A spokeswoman for the Academy says, "As Christie's auction house was offering the statuette for sale they notified the Army which asserted its claim on the Award. Christie's was pleased to see the statuette put back into the Army's care."
U.S. Army spokesman Brigadier General Jeffrey E. Phillips says, "We are very grateful that the Academy contacted us and has returned the Oscar to the U.S. Army. There is immense pride in our Special Services heritage and I cannot think of a better historical example of the importance of communicating with the public for our current generation of Soldiers than this statuette.
"The award will be proudly and prominently displayed at the Department of the Army Headquarters for Public Affairs Office at the Pentagon for all to see."
The Why We Fight film collection, which featured Prelude To War, is widely recognised as the most effective of the many films produced by the armed services to educate Americans in general, and new servicemen in particular, about the nation's objectives in entering World War Two.
The original Oscar for Prelude to War remains in the care of the Capra family.