1939 was the greatest year in the history of movies. Bar none. There has never been so many great movies released in the same year outside of this one. It’s incredible. And the best thing about such a great year is, despite all the great movies, there was a definitive Best Picture winner: Gone With the Wind.
Gone With the Wind wins Best Picture, Best Director for Victor Fleming (talked about here), Best Actress for Vivien Leigh, and here. All perfect decisions. The only awards the film didn’t win were Best Actor, which went to Robert Donat for Goodbye Mr. Chips, which as I said here, is an award that should have went to Jimmy Stewart for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (and the Academy knew it because they blatantly gave him an Oscar the year after this), and Best Supporting Actor, which went to Thomas Mitchell for Stagecoach, which, as I said here, I love (despite also loving Claude Rains).
And that brings us to this historic category, which features the first black actress (or black anyone) to win an Academy Award. This one needed to happen, and I approve.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1939
And the nominee were…
Olivia de Havilland, Gone With the Wind
Geraldine Fitzgerald, Wuthering Heights
Hattie McDaniel, Gone With the Wind
Edna May Oliver, Drums Along the Mohawk
Maria Ouspenskaya, Love Affair (more…)