Oscars bosses have launched a lawsuit over the sale of a gold statuette awarded to legendary art director Joseph C. Wright in the 1940s.

Officials at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences filed documents at Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday (01Jul14) against Wright's heirs and the owners of an auction house where the Oscar was allegedly sold.

It is claimed staff at Briarbrook Auctions sold the award in June (14) for $79,200 (£46,588), breaking a ban on selling an Oscar without first offering the Academy the chance to buy it back for $10 (£5.90).

Wright, who died in 1985, won two Academy Awards for Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration in 1943 for his work on This Above All and My Gal Sal, but it is not known which of the awards is at the centre of the lawsuit.

Academy bosses are demanding more than $79,200 in damages and the right to buy the Oscar for $10.