The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1939
1939 is the best year for American movies. The Golden Year, as they call it. And it really was. And the best thing about a year that’s this strong is when it has a definitive Best Picture winner, like this one does.
Gone With the Wind wins Best Picture, Best Director for Victor Fleming (talked about here) and Best Supporting Actress for Hattie McDaniel (talked about here). Best Actor this year 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 realized it so much that they gave him an Oscar the year after this for an unworthy performance. And Best Supporting Actor was Thomas Mitchell for Stagecoach, which, as I said here, is a brilliant decision (with my deepest condolences to Claude Rains).
And then there’s this category, which — it’s Gone With the Wind. It’s Scarlett O’Hara. Come on now.
BEST ACTRESS – 1939
And the nominees were…
Bette Davis, Dark Victory
Irene Dunne, Love Affair
Greta Garbo, Ninotchka
Greer Garson, Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Vivien Leigh, Gone With the Wind (more…)