Since it was won before 1950, the Academy Award statue did not fall under the stipulation that Oscars must first be offered back to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences before they can put up for sale. Last December, Orson Welles’ Best Screenplay Academy Award for Citizen Kane sold for over $800,000.
When nominated for her role as a restaurant owner struggling to raise her daughter in Mildred Pierce, Crawford’s career was on the skids. A string of several bombs had earned the actress a reputation as box office poison. Seeing Ingrid Bergman’s performance in The Bells Of St Mary’s as the surefire winner in the category, Crawford elected to skip the March 1946 Academy Awards ceremony and just stay at home, excusing herself by saying she was sick. Mildred Pierce director Michael Curtiz accepted the award for that evening.
When she found out of her win, Crawford summoned reporters to her home where they photographed her accepting her Oscar statue while still in bed. She was quoted as saying, “Whether the Academy voters were giving the Oscar to me, sentimentally, for Mildred or for 200 years of effort, the hell with it — I deserved it.”