The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1936
1936 is a tough year. There are a lot of good films that were nominated. I’d say, of all the Best Picture nominees, there were only three I didn’t care for. And even of those three — two of them were just monotonous for me, and the other was, whatever. 7 out of 10 is pretty good.
The only thing is, it’s tough to guess what should have won, because — the Best Picture choice, The Great Ziegfeld, is the first biopic to ever win an Oscar. That’s one thing it had going for it. Two is that it’s actually a good movie. It’s a nice mixture of drama, comedy, and larger than life musical numbers. (Larger than life meaning not like Busby Berkeley, but rather — literally larger than life. The sets are fucking huge.) The downsides to it are — it’s long, three hours, and, there are much more “watchable” films on the list. By that I mean, they’re films you’d want to watch more often than the film that won. So ultimately the decision is, which do you vote for? Because the film is a standard “Oscar” film, and an enjoyable one at that (at least, compared to some other epic Best Picture winners), but, on the other hand — there are alternatives.
That aside, we have this category, which, strangely, split from Best Picture. I feel it says a lot when the Best Picture winner and Director split. It’s like they were compelled to vote for the film that seemed most obvious, then went with what they liked for the other choice.
Oh, yeah, Best Actor was Paul Muni for The Story of Louis Pasteur, and Best Actress was Luise Rainer for The Great Ziegfeld. Oh, yeah — the Supporting categories are here. First time ever. The first Best Supporting Actress winner was Gale Sondergaard, for Anthony Adverse, and the first Best Supporting Actor winner — very fittingly too — was Walter Brennan, for Come and Get It. (more…)