The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1927-1928
(Note: THIS CATEGORY IS NOT FINISHED. I still need to watch one of the nominees. I still have not been able to find The Noose in any cheap/acceptable format. If anyone has it or knows where it can be procured, let me know, so this category can be finished.)
Ah, the very first Best Actor category. Talk about a completely different set of rules than normal. These were the first Oscars ever. The winners were announced in advance and the awards were given at a small dinner event. And there were only like three nominees in each category! Two here! It’s crazy.
Anyway, the Best Picture for this year was — well, there were two. The “Outstanding Picture, Production” award, went to Wings, and the “Unique and Artistic Production” award went to Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (I love using that subtitle). Most people call Wings the first Best Picture winner, mostly because — between art and business, Hollywood always chooses business.
Best Director this year was split into two categories as well. First was for Comedy, which went to Lewis Milestone for Two Arabian Knights, and the other was for Dramatic, which went to Frank Borzage, for Seventh Heaven. And then Best Actress went to Janet Gaynor, for Seventh Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise (talked about here). I rank that decision a top ten decision for all time.
So then we have this one. This was a no-brainer, because Emil Jannings was considered the best silent film actor working (remember, actor and comedian are two different things in 1928). Of course he was gonna get the first Best Actor Oscar. It’s like if they created a “Most Universally Liked” actor award today, and your top finishers would be Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr. and George Clooney. What a surprise.
BEST ACTOR – 1927-1928
And the nominees were…
Richard Barthelmess, The Noose & The Patent Leather Kid
Emil Jannings, The Last Command & The Way of All Flesh (more…)