The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1940
1940 is a year that I always say is good, but possibly not as good as it could have been (yet, it still ranks as a solid year). Rebecca wins Best Picture, beating The Grapes of Wrath. Maybe not the best decision, historically, but it’s still a solid film. Plus, there was this category to even it out. So it actually kind of works.
Jimmy Stewart won Best Actor for The Philadelphia Story (talked about here), which is the most blatant makeup Oscar of all time. They were clearly giving it to him for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington the year before. Henry Fonda or Charlie Chaplin really should have won that one. Best Actress was Ginger Rogers for Kitty Foyle, which I love, since it was the only time they could really reward her, and Joan Fontaine, who probably should have won, won the year after this, so it worked out. Best Supporting Actor was Walter Brennan for The Westerner (talked about here), which, despite it being his third, I feel actually was a good decision. And Best Supporting Actress was Jane Darwell for The Grapes of Wrath (talked about here), which makes perfect sense, because she’s “Ma.”
And then there’s this category, which, aside from the fact that Hitchcock never won an Oscar (not this category’s fault, really), is a fantastic decision.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1940
And the nominees were…
George Cukor, The Philadelphia Story
John Ford, The Grapes of Wrath
Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca
Sam Wood, Kitty Foyle
William Wyler, The Letter (more…)