`Casablanca` Oscar expected to fetch $3m at auction

London: The Oscar statuette won by director Michael Curtiz for the 1942 classic ‘Casablanca’ is expected to fetch a record 3million dollars when it goes under the hammer next week, organisers say.

Casablanca, which celebrated its 70th anniversary in February, starred Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and the film also won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Screenplay.

Casablanca, set during World War Two, has been named by the American Film Institute as the third best film of the past 100 years.

Hungarian-born director Curtiz died in April 1962 aged 75. His Oscar was previously sold in 2003 by Christie’s for 231,500 dollars to magician David Copperfield.

At the start of the week, 21 bidders had already registered their interest in the Casablanca gold-plated statuette.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is against the auctioning of Oscars, believing it lessens the prestige of the prize, the Telegraph reported.

After an online sale of 15 statuettes raised 3 million dollars in February, the Academy released a statement saying: “Oscars should be won, not purchased,” adding that it had no “legal means of stopping the commoditisation of these particular statuettes.”