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Last week we looked at the beginnings of the Academy Awards and the first three ceremonies that were held. This week we will look at the ceremonies of the 1930s through 1938. Next week will be devoted to the greatest year in cinematic history 1939.

 Best Picture Winner. Cimarron

 

4th Academy Awards

The 4th Academy Awards were awarded to films completed and screened released between August 1, 1930, and July 31, 1931, by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. At the ceremony, nine-year-old Jackie Cooper, nominated for Best Actor in Skippy, fell asleep on the shoulder of Best Actress nominee Marie Dressler. When Dressler was announced as the winner, Cooper had to be eased onto his mother’s lap.

Cimarron was the first Western to win Best Picture, and would remain the only one to do so for 59 years (until Dances with Wolves won in 1991). It received a then-record seven nominations, and was the first film to win more than two awards.

Jackie Cooper was the first child star to receive a nomination, and he was the youngest nominee for nearly 50 years. He is the second youngest Oscar nominee ever and the only Best Actor nominee under age 18.

Best Actor winner Lionel Barrymore became the first person to have received nominations in multiple categories, with a Best Director nod for Madame X at the 2nd Academy Awards.

In addition, Cimarron and A Free Soul became the first movies to receive multiple acting nominations.

 

Winners

ACTOR

Lionel BarrymoreA Free Soul {“Stephen Ashe”}

ACTRESS

Marie DresslerMin and Bill {“Min”}

ART DIRECTION

Cimarron — Max Rée

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Tabu — Floyd Crosby

DIRECTING

Skippy — Norman Taurog

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION

Cimarron — RKO Radio

SOUND RECORDING

Paramount Publix Studio Sound Department [NOTE: This award was not associated with any specific film title.]

WRITING (Adaptation)

Cimarron — Howard Estabrook

WRITING (Original Story)

The Dawn Patrol — John Monk Saunders

 

Best Picture Winner Grand Hotel

5th Academy Awards

The 5th Academy Awards were conducted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on November 18, 1932, at a ceremony held at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. The ceremony was hosted by Conrad Nagel. Films screened in Los Angeles between August 1, 1931, and July 31, 1932, were eligible to receive awards.

Walt Disney created a special animated short film just for the banquet, Parade of the Award Nominees.

Grand Hotel became the only Best Picture winner to be nominated for Best Picture and nothing else. It was the last film to win Best Picture without a Best Director nomination until Driving Miss Daisy (1989), and the third of seven to win without a screenwriting nomination.

This was the first of three Oscars in which two films not nominated for Best Picture received more nominations than the winner (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Guardsman). This happened again at the 25th and 79th Academy Awards.

This year also introduced short films to the Oscars, with Flowers and Trees being the first color winner and first animated short winner.

This was the first and last ceremony in which there was a tie for Best Actor, and the last ceremony in which no film won more than two Oscars.

 

Winners

ACTOR

Wallace Beery — The Champ {“Champ”}

Fredric MarchDr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde {“Dr. Henry Jekyll/Mr. Hyde”}

[NOTE: A tie. Wallace Beery (The Champ) had one vote less than Mr. March, and rules at the time stated that if any achievement came within three votes of the First Award, it would be considered a tie.]

ACTRESS

Helen HayesThe Sin of Madelon Claudet {“Madelon”}

ART DIRECTION

Transatlantic — Gordon Wiles

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Shanghai Express — Lee Garmes

DIRECTING

Bad Girl — Frank Borzage

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION

Grand Hotel — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon)

Flowers and Trees — Walt Disney, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Comedy)

The Music Box — Hal Roach, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Novelty)

Wrestling Swordfish — Mack Sennett, Producer

SOUND RECORDING

Paramount Publix Studio Sound Department [NOTE: This award was not associated with any specific film title.]

WRITING (Adaptation)

Bad Girl — Edwin Burke

WRITING (Original Story)

The Champ — Frances Marion

SPECIAL AWARD

To Walt Disney for the creation of “Mickey Mouse.”

 

Best Picture Winner Cavalcade

6th Academy Awards

The 6th Academy Awards were held on March 16, 1934, at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California. They were hosted by Will Rogers and Rogers also presented all of the awards.

Will Rogers presented the Academy Award for Best Director, and when he opened the envelope he simply announced, “Come up and get it, Frank!” Frank Capra, certain he was the winner, ran to the podium to collect the Oscar, only to discover Rogers had meant Frank Lloyd, who won for Cavalcade, instead. Possibly to downplay Rogers’ gaffe, he then called third nominee George Cukor to join the two Franks on stage.

This was the last time that the Oscars’ eligibility period was spread over two different calendar years, creating the longest time frame for which films could be nominated: the year and a half from August 1, 1932, to December 31, 1933.

This was the last time that no film had more than four nominations. Cavalcade became the fourth film to win Best Picture without a writing nomination, and the last until Hamlet at the 21st Academy Awards.

This was the first year that a Best Assistant Director Academy Award was given.

 

Winners

ACTOR

Charles LaughtonThe Private Life of Henry VIII {“Henry VIII”}

ACTRESS

Katharine HepburnMorning Glory {“Eva Lovelace”}

ART DIRECTION

Cavalcade — William S. Darling

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

William Tummel (Fox)

Charles Dorian (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Charles Barton (Paramount)

Dewey Starkey (RKO Radio)

Fred Fox (United Artists)

Scott Beal (Universal)

Gordon Hollingshead (Warner Bros.)

CINEMATOGRAPHY

A Farewell to Arms — Charles Bryant Lang, Jr.

DIRECTING

Cavalcade — Frank Lloyd

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION

Cavalcade — Fox

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon)

The Three Little Pigs — Walt Disney, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Comedy)

So This Is Harris — Louis Brock, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Novelty)

Krakatoa — Joe Rock, Producer

SOUND RECORDING

A Farewell to Arms — Paramount Studio Sound Department, Franklin B. Hansen, Sound Director

WRITING (Adaptation)

Little Women — Victor Heerman, Sarah Y. Mason

WRITING (Original Story)

One Way Passage — Robert Lord

 

Best Picture Winner It Happened One Night

7th Academy Awards

The 7th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 1934, was held on February 27, 1935, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. They were hosted by Irvin S. Cobb.

Frank Capra’s influential romantic comedy It Happened One Night became the first film to perform a “clean sweep” of the top five award categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. This feat would later be duplicated by One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1976 and The Silence of the Lambs in 1992. It also was the first romantic comedy to be named Best Picture.

For the first time, the Academy standardized the practice – still in effect – that the award eligibility period for a film would be the preceding calendar year.

This was also the first of only two years in which write-in candidates were allowed by the Academy as a tacit response to the controversy surrounding the snub of Bette Davis‘ performance in Of Human Bondage.

The categories of Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song were first introduced this year.

This was the last time that Best Actor were all first-time nominees, as well as the last time until the 43rd Academy Awards where either leading acting category had all first time nominees. (Lead actress that year were all first timers for the only time since the 2nd Academy Awards).

Shirley Temple received the first Juvenile Award at age six, making her the youngest Oscar recipient ever.

 

Winners

ACTOR

Clark GableIt Happened One Night {“Peter Warne”}

ACTRESS

Claudette ColbertIt Happened One Night {“Ellie Andrews”}

ART DIRECTION

The Merry Widow — Cedric Gibbons, Fredric Hope [NOTE: won by two votes]

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Viva Villa! — John Waters

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Cleopatra — Victor Milner

DIRECTING

It Happened One Night — Frank Capra

FILM EDITING

Eskimo — Conrad Nervig

MUSIC (Scoring)

One Night of Love — Columbia Studio Music Department, Louis Silvers, head of department (Thematic Music by Victor Schertzinger and Gus Kahn)

MUSIC (Song)

“The Continental” from The Gay Divorcee — Music by Con Conrad; Lyrics by Herb Magidson

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION

It Happened One Night — Columbia

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon)

The Tortoise and the Hare — Walt Disney, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Comedy)

La Cucaracha — Kenneth Macgowan, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Novelty)

City of Wax — Stacy Woodard and Horace Woodard, Producers

SOUND RECORDING

One Night of Love — Columbia Studio Sound Department, John Livadary, Sound Director

WRITING (Adaptation)

It Happened One Night — Robert Riskin

WRITING (Original Story)

Manhattan Melodrama — Arthur Caesar

SPECIAL AWARD

To Shirley Temple, in grateful recognition of her outstanding contribution to screen entertainment during the year 1934.

 

Best Picture Winner Mutiny on the Bounty

8th Academy Awards

The 8th Academy Awards were held on March 5, 1936, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. They were hosted by Frank Capra. This was the first year in which the gold statuettes were called “Oscars”.

The category of Best Dance Direction was introduced this year. The DGA successfully lobbied for its elimination three years later.

Mutiny on the Bounty became the last film to date to win Best Picture and nothing else (following The Broadway Melody and Grand Hotel), and the only film to receive three nominations for Best Actor.

This was the second and last year that write-in votes were allowed at the Oscars. A Midsummer Night’s Dream became the only film to win a write-in Oscar, taking Best Cinematography.

 

Winners

ACTOR

Victor McLaglenThe Informer {“Gypo Nolan”}

ACTRESS

Bette DavisDangerous {“Joyce Heath”}

ART DIRECTION

The Dark Angel — Richard Day

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer — Clem Beauchamp, Paul Wing

CINEMATOGRAPHY

A Midsummer Night’s Dream — Hal Mohr [NOTE: THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL NOMINATION. Write-in candidate.]

DANCE DIRECTION

Dave Gould — “I’ve Got a Feeling You’re Fooling” number from Broadway Melody of 1936; and “Straw Hat” number from Folies Bergere

DIRECTING

The Informer — John Ford

FILM EDITING

A Midsummer Night’s Dream — Ralph Dawson

MUSIC (Scoring)

The Informer — RKO Radio Studio Music Department, Max Steiner, head of department (Score by Max Steiner)

MUSIC (Song)

“Lullaby Of Broadway” from Gold Diggers of 1935 — Music by Harry Warren; Lyrics by Al Dubin

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION

Mutiny on the Bounty — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon)

Three Orphan Kittens — Walt Disney, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Comedy)

How to Sleep — Jack Chertok, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Novelty)

Wings over Mt. Everest — Gaumont British and Skibo Productions

SOUND RECORDING

Naughty Marietta — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Sound Department, Douglas Shearer, Sound Director

WRITING (Original Story)

The Scoundrel — Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur

WRITING (Screenplay)

The Informer — Dudley Nichols [NOTE: Mr. Nichols initially refused the award, but Academy records indicate that he was in possession of a statuette by 1949.]

SPECIAL AWARD

To David Wark Griffith, for his distinguished creative achievements as director and producer and his invaluable initiative and lasting contributions to the progress of the motion picture arts.

 

Best Picture Winner The Great Ziegfeld

9th Academy Awards

The 9th Academy Awards were held on March 4, 1937, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. They were hosted by George Jessel; music was provided by the Victor Young Orchestra, which at the time featured Spike Jones on drums. This ceremony marked the first time in which the categories of Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress were awarded.

My Man Godfrey became the first film to receive nominations in all four acting categories, but did not win in any category. It is the only such film to not receive a nomination for Best Picture, and was the only one to lose all of its nominations until Sunset Boulevard at the 23rd Academy Awards. It was also the first of four films to receive four acting nominations without one for Best Picture, followed by I Remember Mama (1948), Othello (1965), and Doubt (2008).

With a win for Best Sound Recording for San Francisco, Douglas Shearer became the first person to win consecutive Academy Awards (following a win in the same category for Naughty Marietta the year before).

 

Winners

ACTOR

Paul MuniThe Story of Louis Pasteur {“Louis Pasteur”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Walter Brennan — Come and Get It {“Swan Bostrom”}

ACTRESS

Luise RainerThe Great Ziegfeld {“Anna Held”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Gale Sondergaard — Anthony Adverse {“Faith Paleologue”}

ART DIRECTION

Dodsworth — Richard Day

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

The Charge of the Light Brigade — Jack Sullivan

CINEMATOGRAPHY

Anthony Adverse — Gaetano Gaudio

DANCE DIRECTION

Seymour Felix — “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody” number from The Great Ziegfeld

DIRECTING

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town — Frank Capra

FILM EDITING

Anthony Adverse — Ralph Dawson

MUSIC (Scoring)

Anthony Adverse — Warner Bros. Studio Music Department, Leo Forbstein, head of department (Score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold)

MUSIC (Song)

“The Way You Look Tonight” from Swing Time — Music by Jerome Kern; Lyrics by Dorothy Fields

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION

The Great Ziegfeld — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon)

The Country Cousin — Walt Disney, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Color)

Give Me Liberty — Warner Bros.

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel)

Bored of Education — Hal Roach, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel)

The Public Pays — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

SOUND RECORDING

San Francisco — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Sound Department, Douglas Shearer, Sound Director

WRITING (Original Story)

The Story of Louis Pasteur — Pierre Collings, Sheridan Gibney

WRITING (Screenplay)

The Story of Louis Pasteur — Pierre Collings, Sheridan Gibney

SPECIAL AWARD

To The March of Time for its significance to motion pictures and for having revolutionized one of the most important branches of the industry – the newsreel.

To W. Howard Greene and Harold Rosson for the color cinematography of the Selznick International Production, The Garden of Allah.

 

Best Picture WInner The Life of Emile Zola

© 1937 – Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

10th Academy Awards

The 10th Academy Awards were originally scheduled for March 3, 1938, but due to the Los Angeles flood of 1938 were held on March 10, 1938, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. It was hosted by Bob Burns.

Two categories were discontinued following this presentation: Best Dance Direction, which was the only nomination ever received by a Marx Brothers film (Dave Gould for the dance number “All God’s Children Got Rhythm” in A Day at the Races), and Best Assistant Director.

The Life of Emile Zola was the first film to receive ten nominations and the second biographical film to win Best Picture.

Luise Rainer received the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Good Earth, earning her the distinctions of being the first actor to win two Academy Awards and the first to win consecutive acting awards.

A Star is Born was the first color film to receive a Best Picture nomination.

Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the world’s first full-length Technicolor animated feature film with sound and widely seen as one of the greatest motion pictures of all time, received only one nomination (Best Score). In the following year, the Academy presented Disney an Honorary Academy Award, “for creating Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs [1937], recognized as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon.” (One statuette and seven miniature statuettes on a stepped base.) This is a rare case of a film being recognized in two succeeding ceremonies.

The presentation of the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award began, presented to Darryl F. Zanuck, who also as of 2014 holds the record for most presentations at three.

 

Winners

ACTOR

Spencer TracyCaptains Courageous {“Manuel”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Joseph Schildkraut — The Life of Emile Zola {“Captain Alfred Dreyfus”}

ACTRESS

Luise RainerThe Good Earth {“O-Lan”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Alice Brady — In Old Chicago {“Molly O’Leary”}

ART DIRECTION

Lost Horizon — Stephen Goosson

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

In Old Chicago — Robert Webb

CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Good Earth — Karl Freund

DANCE DIRECTION

Hermes Pan — “Fun House” number from A Damsel in Distress

DIRECTING

The Awful Truth — Leo McCarey

FILM EDITING

Lost Horizon — Gene Havlick, Gene Milford

MUSIC (Scoring)

One Hundred Men and a Girl — Universal Studio Music Department, Charles Previn, head of department (no composer credit)

MUSIC (Song)

“Sweet Leilani” from Waikiki Wedding — Music and Lyrics by Harry Owens

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION

The Life of Emile Zola — Warner Bros.

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon)

The Old Mill — Walt Disney, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Color)

Penny Wisdom — Pete Smith, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel)

The Private Life of the Gannets — Skibo Productions

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel)

Torture Money — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

SOUND RECORDING

The Hurricane — United Artists Studio Sound Department, Thomas T. Moulton, Sound Director

WRITING (Original Story)

A Star Is Born — William A. Wellman, Robert Carson

WRITING (Screenplay)

The Life of Emile Zola — Norman Reilly Raine, Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg

SPECIAL AWARD

To Mack Sennett, “for his lasting contribution to the comedy technique of the screen, the basic principles of which are as important today as when they were first put into practice, the Academy presents a Special Award to that master of fun, discoverer of stars, sympathetic, kindly, understanding comedy genius – Mack Sennett.”

To Edgar Bergen for his outstanding comedy creation, “Charlie McCarthy.”

To The Museum of Modern Art Film Library for its significant work in collecting films dating from 1895 to the present and for the first time making available to the public the means of studying the historical and aesthetic development of the motion picture as one of the major arts.

To W. Howard Greene for the color photography of A Star Is Born. (This Award was recommended by a committee of leading cinematographers after viewing all the color pictures made during the year.)

IRVING G. THALBERG MEMORIAL AWARD

Darryl F. Zanuck

 

Best Picture Winner You Can't Take It with You

11th Academy Awards

The 11th Academy Awards were held on February 23, 1939, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. It was the first Academy Awards show without any official host. This was also the first ceremony in which a foreign language film (Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion) was nominated for Best Picture.

Frank Capra became the first person to win three Best Director awards, to be followed by John Ford (who would go on to win four) and William Wyler.

This was the first of only two times in Oscar history that three of the four acting awards were won by repeat winners; only Fay Bainter was a first time award winner. The only other time that this happened was at the 67th Academy Awards in 1994. Fay Bainter also was the first actress in the history of the Oscars to receive two acting nominations in the same year. In addition, Spencer Tracy became the first of only two lead actors to win two years in a row; the other one, Tom Hanks, also did so in 1994.

Radio coverage was banned at the 1939 ceremony. A reporter from KNX, Los Angeles, which had been reporting from the Academy Awards since 1930, locked himself into a booth and was able to broadcast for a few minutes before security guards broke down the door. Partial radio coverage was permitted again at the 1942 ceremony.

 

Winners

ACTOR

Spencer TracyBoys Town {“Father Flanagan”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Walter BrennanKentucky {“Peter Goodwin”}

ACTRESS

Bette DavisJezebel {“Julie Morrison”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Fay Bainter – Jezebel {“Aunt Belle Massey”}

ART DIRECTION

The Adventures of Robin Hood — Carl J. Weyl

CINEMATOGRAPHY

The Great Waltz — Joseph Ruttenberg

DIRECTING

You Can’t Take It with You — Frank Capra

FILM EDITING

The Adventures of Robin Hood — Ralph Dawson

MUSIC (Original Score)

The Adventures of Robin Hood — Erich Wolfgang Korngold

MUSIC (Scoring)

Alexander’s Ragtime Band — Alfred Newman

MUSIC (Song)

“Thanks For The Memory” from The Big Broadcast of 1938 — Music by Ralph Rainger; Lyrics by Leo Robin

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION

You Can’t Take It with You — Columbia

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon)

Ferdinand the Bull — Walt Disney, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel)

That Mothers Might Live — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel)

Declaration of Independence — Warner Bros.

SOUND RECORDING

The Cowboy and the Lady — United Artists Studio Sound Department, Thomas T. Moulton, Sound Director

WRITING (Original Story)

Boys Town — Dore Schary, Eleanore Griffin

WRITING (Screenplay)

Pygmalion — Screenplay and Dialogue by George Bernard Shaw; Adaptation by W. P. Lipscomb, Cecil Lewis, Ian Dalrymple

SPECIAL AWARD

To Deanna Durbin and Mickey Rooney for their significant contribution in bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth, and as juvenile players setting a high standard of ability and achievement.

To Harry M. Warner in recognition of patriotic service in the production of historical short subjects presenting significant episodes in the early struggle of the American people for liberty.

To Walt Disney for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, recognized as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon.

To Oliver Marsh and Allen Davey for the color cinematography of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production, Sweethearts.

For outstanding achievement in creating Special Photographic and Sound Effects in the Paramount production, Spawn of the North. Special Effects by Gordon Jennings, assisted by Jan Domela, Dev Jennings, Irmin Roberts and Art Smith. Transparencies by Farciot Edouart, assisted by Loyal Griggs. Sound Effects by Loren Ryder, assisted by Harry Mills, Louis H. Mesenkop and Walter Oberst.

To J. Arthur Ball for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of color in Motion Picture Photography.

IRVING G. THALBERG MEMORIAL AWARD

Hal B. Wallis

[NOTE: This is the only year that nominations were announced for the Thalberg award.]

See all the Academy Award Nominees and Winners 1929 - 1987 here.

 

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