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Archive for August 1, 2011

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1927-1928

1927-1928. The first Best Actress category ever. I’m excited.

The rest of this year is very — broad, shall we say. The Academy hadn’t honed their categories yet. For example, Best Picture was split into two separate categories. The first was “Outstanding Picture, Production,” which went to Wings, and the second was for “Unique or Artistic Production,” which went to Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. Generally, Wings is regarded as the first Best Picture winner, which, seems strange. It should really be both films. However, the fact that they went with Wings over Sunrise is very telling. The went with “outstanding” production over “artistic” production. Perfect for explaining many of the decisions made over the years.

Similarly, Best Director was split into two separate categories, one for “Dramatic,” which went to Frank Borzage, for Seventh Heaven, and one for “Comedy,” which went to Lewis Milestone for Two Arabian Knights. And then, Best Actor went to Emil Jannings, considered the best dramatic silent film actor, for The Last Command as well as The Way of All Flesh, which is a lost film.

So that’s the first year of the Academy Awards. In all honesty, I think, in every category, the best possible decision was made. Especially this one. They did the right thing by nominating Janet Gaynor for all three of the films she made this year. Because, just by watching one of them, you can see why she won this. She was just incredible. You’re in for a real treat with her films.

BEST ACTRESS – 1927-1928

And the nominees were…

Louise Dresser, A Ship Comes In

Janet Gaynor, Seventh Heaven, Street Angel & Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

Gloria Swanson, Sadie Thompson (more…)

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