There’s a marked overall increase in quality in 1935. I attribute it to Hollywood finally finding its footing in the Production Code era, finally figuring out how to perfect the motion picture and now getting the assembly line up and running. And they’re just cranking out product.
There’s not a whole lot to say about this except it’s got a cool set of choices with genres ranging all over the place. Romance, comedy (slapstick and screwball), horror, drama, musical.
There’s a couple of real hidden gems in this year, one in particular I think people should check out. (more…)
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…)
I’m not the biggest fan of 1935. It’s strange to me how the Academy could choose a film for so many awards and not give it Best Picture. The Informer wins Best Director for John Ford (talked about here), Band this category (and even Best Screenplay), and yet, Mutiny on the Bounty wins Best Picture. It’s the only film to only win Best Picture and nothing else despite being nominated for other awards. That’s what makes it so strange.
The other award — remember, no Supporting categories yet. That’s the year after this — was Best Actress, which went to Bette Davis for Dangerous (talked about here). That’s largely a blatant makeup Oscar of Jimmy Stewart proportions. It’s acceptable, because it didn’t interrupt all that much, but I hate the decision. It’s far too blatant and short-sighted.
Which brings us to this category. I love it. I love it so much. Thank god Laughton had an Oscar already, because otherwise this might not have happened. And it deserved to happen. McLaglen was amazing.
BEST ACTOR – 1935
And the nominees were…
Clark Gable, Mutiny on the Bounty
Charles Laughton, Mutiny on the Bounty
Victor McLaglen, The Informer
Paul Muni, Black Fury
Franchot Tone, Mutiny on the Bounty (more…)
1935 is a weak year for me. I don’t like it very much. Mutiny on the Bounty is a great film and a classic film, but it’s not my favorite film from 1935 (that would be The Informer. And Top Hat, but that wasn’t winning). It’s the only Best Picture winner to not win any other award (and be nominated for them. Not like Grand Hotel, which was only nominated for Best Picture).
Victor McLaglen wins Best Actor for The Informer, which was a terrific decision. He was fantastic. And John Ford also wins Best Director for the film (talked about here). Hmm…maybe that’s a sign that the film was actually better than the film that won, don’t you think?
And this category — what the hell? Bette Davis wins by default. Don’t think she didn’t. There was such an outcry that she wasn’t nominated for Of Human Bondage the year before this (which she should not have won for at all) that, after a write-in campaign that almost got her the win, they pretty much were willing to give her this one for just about anything she put up on screen. And I didn’t think she was that good.
BEST ACTRESS – 1935
And the nominees were…
Elisabeth Bergner, Escape Me Never
Claudette Colbert, Private Worlds
Bette Davis, Dangerous
Katharine Hepburn, Alice Adams
Miriam Hopkins, Becky Sharp
Merle Oberon, The Dark Angel (more…)
1935 is one of those years — I don’t know — I guess you can’t really fault the Academy that much, but, I think general consensus is, while they didn’t make a bad choice (kinda, maybe, sorta), there was a choice that has held up as a better choice after the fact. It’s tough. I think it might have been tough back then too, since there was a Picture/Director split between the two films.
For those not in the know, the two films are Mutiny on the Bounty and The Informer. I’ll talk about them both down there. Mutiny on the Bounty won Best Picture — and it makes sense that they’d choose it, being the type of film that it is — but The Informer is one of those films — it’s a very strong picture. I guess it’s kind of a toss-up, historically. I don’t know. But I feel The Informer has held up better. Mostly because it’s never been remade, and still looks great.
Anyway, the other awards for this year were — the last year before supporting categories were invented, mind you — Victor McLaglen for The Informer and Bette Davis for Dangerous. Those aren’t as important as these two are. I feel like this race is a classic example of — well, the same type of race that we had in 2010 — the “Oscar” film vs. the — whatever the other type was.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1935
And the nominees are…
Michael Curtiz, Captain Blood (write-in)
John Ford, The Informer
Henry Hathaway, The Lives of a Bengal Lancer
Frank Lloyd, Mutiny on the Bounty (more…)