1939 is the best year in the history of movies. That’s not an embellishment. 9 of the 10 Best Picture nominees are legit classic (and amazing) films (Dark Victory is just okay). Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Love Affair (later remade as An Affair to Remember), Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Wuthering Heights. All pretty strong, right? Yeah? Now listen to this half of the Best Picture nominees. Stagecoach. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The Wizard of Oz. Oh, and a little film called Gone With the Wind. Yeah. It’s pretty famous.
Gone With the Wind rightfully wins Best Picture, Best Director for Victor Fleming (talked about here), Best Actress for Vivien Leigh and Best Supporting Actress for Hattie McDaniel. Automatically these are top three decisions of all time in their respective categories. (Well, maybe not Best Supporting Actress. That’s definitely a top ten, though, since she was the first black actor to win an Oscar.) This is a perfect film and deserved every award it won (and even more). Best Actor this year was Robert Donat for Goodbye, Mr. Chips, which, as I said here, is a pretty bad decision. Jimmy Stewart really should have won for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It was so bad they blatantly gave him a makeup Oscar the year after this for a performance that should never have won an Oscar in a hundred years.
So that’s 1939. A brilliant year all around. And then we have this category, which is amazingly strong.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1939
And the nominees were…
Brian Ahene, Juarez
Harry Carey, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Brian Donlevy, Beau Geste
Thomas Mitchell, Stagecoach
Claude Rains, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (more…)