I consider 1935 the first year where the Academy can truly be critiqued. All of the double years are really just them figuring stuff out, and then 1934 was when they came out and were like, “We got it!” That sweep of It Happened One Night in 1934 was basically them really stating what they felt they were all about. So, to me, this is the first year where you can really say, “You know, I don’t agree with that.” From here on out, you can disagree with the decisions the way we do now.
Mutiny on the Bounty is a great film and a classic film, and it makes sense that it won Best Picture. Though it is a bit strange that it didn’t also win Best Director (or maybe the other way round, that The Informer didn’t win Best Picture). Best Director went to John Ford for The Informer (talked about here), which was totally deserved (and it kept Frank Lloyd from winning a third Oscar. He’s not exactly Capra, you know?). Victor McLaglen also won Best Actor for the film (talked about here), which was definitely deserved (plus his competition was Charles Laughton, Clark Gable and Paul Muni, who, respectively, won Best Actor the year before this, the year before that, and the year after this, so it worked out just fine). And Best Actress was Bette Davis for Dangerous (talked about here), which I don’t like at all, but don’t care about because the person who should have won based on performance (Katharine Hepburn) already had an Oscar.
The other note about 1935 is that is was (outside of it being one of only two years in Academy history in which write-in votes were allowed, the other being 1934) that this is the year that led to the creation of the Supporting categories. Franchot Tone, nominated for Best Actor this year, was really no more than a supporting character in Mutiny on the Bounty, but there was no category for supporting performances. So I feel like that led to them creating the Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress categories, to better fit performances like that. That’s probably not true, but as a screenwriter, I like making connections like that, that seem to fit easily enough. So I’m going with it.
Other than that — 1935 was a pretty good year. There were really only two films that were gonna win, and they split Picture and Director, so really it comes down to personal preference.
BEST PICTURE – 1935
And the nominees are…
Alice Adams (RKO Radio)
The Broadway Melody of 1936 (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Captain Blood (Warner Bros. Cosmopolitan)
David Copperfield (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
The Informer (RKO Radio)
The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (Paramount)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Warner Bros.)
Mutiny on the Bounty (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Les Misérables (20th Century, United Artists)
Naughty Marietta (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Ruggles of Red Gap (Paramount)
Top Hat (RKO Radio) (more…)