The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1937
What happened with 1937? It’s just a train wreck. Not a single good decision. Well, one good decision, but even that was for the wrong film.
The Life of Emile Zola wins Best Picture, and it’s one of the weakest Best Picture winners of all time. Definitely one of the ten worst. Joseph Schildkraut also won Best Supporting Actor for the film (talked about here), which, while it is a weak choice and he shouldn’t have won because he’s barely in the film, you can’t really call it unacceptable because the category was so bad. Picking it was just like, “I guess…”
Best Actor was Spencer Tracy for Captains Courageous (talked about here), which, while I don’t like the performance as a Best Actor-winner, I do like the fact that he won here, since it was a perfect year for him to win, and lord knows he was goinna win. (It’s his 1938 win I despise.) Best Supporting Actress this year was Alice Brady for In Old Chicago (talked about here), which I don’t much understand. It seems like a makeup Oscar for them not giving it to her the year prior. Andrea Leeds totally should have won there. She definitely gave the best performance. And Best Director this year was Leo McCarey for The Awful Truth, which, while I love the film and love that he won (because he totally should have won), the film he should have won for was Make Way for Tomorrow, which he himself said as he accepted his Oscar. Which is really just the bow on this messed up year that was 1937.
Which brings us to this category, which — given the talent that’s in this category, how — how — can they give it to the actress that won this the year before?! For a performance that was a supporting part! It’s mind-boggling how they could fuck this up. You could say — I’m not, but one could — that this single category is the reason that Irene Dunne, Greta Garbo and Barbara Stanwyck don’t have Oscars. That’s fucked up.
BEST ACTRESS – 1937
And the nominees were…
Irene Dunne, The Awful Truth
Janet Gaynor, A Star is Born
Greta Garbo, Camille
Luise Rainer, The Good Earth
Barbara Stanwyck, Stella Dallas (more…)