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Orson Welles and the Drama Surrounding ‘Citizen Kane’

When presenter Preston Sturges announced Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles as the joint winners of the 1942 Academy Award for Citizen Kane’s screenplay, neither man was present at the high-profile event. Instead, RKO Radio president George Schaefer accepted the award on their behalf, explaining that Mankiewicz had called him earlier the same day to request he take his place. Despite receiving a total of nine Oscar nominations, that was the sole award Welles’ magnum opus would receive that evening, and according to the New Yorker, the audience at Los Angeles’ Biltmore Hotel even jeered at every Citizen Kane mention during the ceremony.


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