The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1940
I like 1940. Rebecca is a fine Best Picture choice, and while The Grapes of Wrath really should have beaten it (just because it’s stood up over time as the better film), it won Best Director for John Ford (talked about here), so that kind of made up for it.
Best Actor this year was Jimmy Stewart for The Philadelphia Story (talked about here), which is the most blatant makeup Oscar in Academy history. Good that he has an Oscar, but the performance was not even close to win-worthy. Best Supporting Actor was Walter Brennan for The Westerner (talked about here), which I actually like, because the category was so weak, and because Brennan was fantastic, despite it being his third Oscar. And Best Supporting Actress was Jane Darwell for The Grapes of Wrath (talked about here). Ain’t nobody gonna argue with “Ma.”
And then we have this category, which I’ve said many times is one where it was the only time they could really award an actress of this stature, and that, plus the performance itself, make this a perfect decision.
BEST ACTRESS – 1940
And the nominees were…
Bette Davis, The Letter
Joan Fontaine, Rebecca
Katharine Hepburn, The Philadelphia Story
Ginger Rogers, Kitty Foyle
Martha Scott, Our Town (more…)