I call 1936 the year with the first “Academy” film. That is, a film that seemed designed from the start to win Best Picture won Best Picture. The Great Ziegfeld is one of those films that has everything the Academy looks for in a Best Picture, and it makes perfect sense that it would win.
Luise Rainer also won Best Actress for the film (talked about here), which I don’t really like as a decision, but would have been okay with it, if only she didn’t also win Best Actress the year after this. Best Actor this year was Paul Muni for The Story of Louis Pasteur (talked about here), which is a good decision, since Muni deserved an Oscar, but I felt it came a year too early. Best Supporting Actress (the first in the category’s history) was Gale Sondergaard for Anthony Adverse (talked about here), which makes no sense to me. And Best Director was Frank Capra for Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (talked about here), which I really can’t even begin to fathom for a lot of reasons. That was a very poor choice, I felt.
And now we have the very first Best Supporting Actor category in the history of the Oscars. The problem with it is — when you look closely at it — it stinks. It’s weak as hell. But fortunately, Walter Brennan is Walter Brennan, so him winning alleviates any concerns of how shitty the category is.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1936
And the nominees were…
Mischa Auer, My Man Godfrey
Walter Brennan, Come and Get It
Stuart Erwin, Pigskin Parade
Basil Rathbone, Romeo and Juliet
Akim Tamiroff, The General Died at Dawn (more…)