I like 1940 a lot, but I can’t help but feel they made the wrong choice. Rebecca is a fine film, and it winning Best Picture normally would be okay. But The Grapes of Wrath is an American classic. I’m not particularly sure why it didn’t win. Especially when John Ford won Best Director for the film. But, since I love both films, I don’t mind it so much.
Jane Darwell also won Best Supporting Actress for The Grapes of Wrath, which, as I said here, is a very acceptable decision, even if I think Judith Anderson gave a better performance than she did. Best Actor this year was Jimmy Stewart for The Philadelphia Story (talked about here), which is the most blatant makeup Oscar in the history of the Academy. Based on performance alone, it was a terrible decision (Henry Fonda and Charlie Chaplin were much better choices), but, in terms of Jimmy Stewart having an Oscar, it’s totally acceptable. And Best Actress this year was Ginger Rogers for Kitty Foyle, which I really like as a decision, since it was really her only chance to win one, and Joan Fontaine would get her Oscar the year after this for Suspicion. So it all worked out.
As for this category — this is actually the one of the three Walter Brennan Supporting Actor Oscars that I think is the strongest performance. And it’s the last one, so it’s the one where I’m most looking for someone else to vote for. So that should tell you something abut the category, when Brennan is a clear-cut winner.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1940
And the nominees were…
Albert Bassermann, Foreign Correspondent
Walter Brennan, The Westerner
William Gargan, They Knew What They Wanted
Jack Oakie, The Great Dictator
James Stephensen, The Letter (more…)