Oh hey, it’s the very first Best Supporting Actress category ever. That means several things. Most of all, it means that the rules don’t apply. You can’t judge this based on strictly the performances. You have to think of it as establishing the category. This sets the trend for what exactly is a supporting performance as we know it.
As for the rest of the year, The Great Ziegfeld wins Best Picture, which, is a pretty good choice, since it’s big and epic (at least, for 1936), and Best Actress for Luise Rainer, which, is a terrible decision. She was a supporting character at best in the film. And, surprisingly, William Powell does not win Best Actor for that film and for My Man Godfrey (being nominated for the latter), but rather, Paul Muni wins Best Actor for The Story of Louis Pasteur, which I don’t really like as a decision. It just seemed like too easy a performance to vote for. Powell, and especially Walter Huston, were better choices. (They could have given it to Muni, who very much deserved an Oscar, for The Story of Louis Pasteur the year after this. It would have made perfect sense.) Then Best Supporting Actor (the very first of that category) went to Walter Brennan for Come and Get It. While I don’t much care for the film or the performance, Brennan does play Swedish, and is an actor who epitomizes the category, so ultimately it was a good decision. Then Best Director was Frank Capra for Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, which, as much as I loved the film (as I said here), I think is a terrible decision.
So, keeping in mind it’s not so much the performance as much as it is a foundation for a category, let’s take a look at this one…
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1936
And the nominees were…
Alice Brady, My Man Godfrey
Beulah Bondi, The Gorgeous Hussy
Bonita Granville, These Three
Maria Ouspenskaya, Dodsworth
Gale Sondergaard, Anthony Adverse (more…)