I don’t like 1938. As I’ve said on a number of occasions, it feels like a year where the Academy said, “We don’t know what to do…well, what worked for us before?” and went with that.
You Can’t Take It with You wins Best Picture and Best Director for Frank Capra (talked about here). It feels like they were trying to recapture that 1934 magic. It feels weak and insincere. Best Actor was Spencer Tracy for Boys Town (talked about here), which I consider the single weakest Best Actor-winning performance of all time. Not the worst decision of all time, just performance that won. Best Actress was Bette Davis for Jezebel (talked about here), which I also don’t like but can sort of accept. And Best Supporting Actor was Walter Brennan for Kentucky (talked about here), which is pretty weak and feels like them saying, “What do we do? Well, we like Brennan, let’s vote for him.”
And this category — this one I actually like. Mostly because it’s weak, and because Fay Bainter was also nominated for Best Actress this year, and I feel the two performances easily add up to one award. And this one was the right one, I felt.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1938
And the nominees were…
Fay Bainter, Jezebel
Beulah Bondi, Of Human Hearts
Billie Burke, Merrily We Live
Spring Byington, You Can’t Take It With You
Miliza Korjus, The Great Waltz (more…)