The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1937
I don’t like 1937 at all. I consider it one of the weakest years in Academy history. The Life of Emile Zola wins Best Picture in a real weak decision. It’s the first year the Academy seemed to have not known what to do, and said, “Well, what’s the safe, “Academy” decision?” and went with that. It’s a weak winner. Strong film, but a weak winner. The fact that it didn’t win Best Director tells you it wasn’t an overwhelmingly popular choice. Joseph Schildkraut also won Best Supporting Actor for the film (talked about here), which makes sense, even though it’s pretty weak and the category really sucked.
Best Director this year went to Leo McCarey for The Awful Truth (which didn’t win Best Picture because it’s a comedy), which, is a good decision, only they made it for the wrong film. McCarey also directed Make Way for Tomorrow this year, which everyone (including him. He said it when he won the award) feels is the film he should have won for. Best Actress this year was Luise Rainer for The Good Earth, which I don’t like at all. Here, they had the opportunity to give an Oscar to Barabara Stanwyck, Irene Dunne and Greta Garbo, and they give it to Luise Rainer (who won the year before this) for a performance that’s just okay. It makes no sense. And Best Supporting Actress was Alice Brady for In Old Chicago, which, as I said here, I understand from a legitimization perspective, but not a category one. Andrea Leeds definitely should have won that.
So that’s why I don’t like 1937. I don’t like any of the decisions. Not one of them. And then there’s this one. I understand it, but I don’t like it.
BEST ACTOR – 1937
And the nominees were…
Charles Boyer, Conquest
Frederic March, A Star is Born
Robert Montgomery, Night Must Fall
Paul Muni, The Life of Emile Zola
Spencer Tracy, Captains Courageous (more…)