Best Lawsuit of the Year Sell an Oscar Go Directly to Court

12/16/2014 7:30 AM PST

Best Lawsuit of the Year ... Sell an Oscar, Go Directly to Court

EXCLUSIVE

And the Oscar goes to ... some dude on eBay, and now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is going after the relative of an actual winner.

A guy named Robert Surtees won an Oscar in 1953 for cinematography for the "The Bad and the Beautiful." Robert is now dead, and his daughter-in-law, Carol, apparently needs some cash, because she put the statue up on eBay and there was indeed a market ... she sold it for $40,500.

Here's the problem ... there are strings attached to winning an Oscar, one of them being that if the winner wants to sell it the Academy can step in and buy it for the very reasonable price of $10.

So the Academy is pissed, and they've filed a lawsuit, not only asking for the sale price but they want a judge to give them the statue ... of course, after the Academy ponies up the $10.