Academy Awards Wiki

Wizard of OZ Witch's Castle

The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion sneak into the Wicked Witch Of The West's Castle in this clip from The Wizard Of Oz

Poster art for Gone With The Wind


Honoring movies released in 1939, this was Bob Hope's very first time hosting the ceremony. The place is the Coconot Grove in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Judy Garland recieved a Juvenile Award for her performance in Wizard Of Oz, David O. Selznick recieved an Irving G. Thalberg award, and 4 Honorary Oscars were given: one for the Technicolor Company for innovating technicolor films, one for the Motion Picture Relief Fund for their services to the industry and their leadership, one for William Cameron Menzies for color enhancement work on Gone With The Wind, and one for Douglas Fairbanks for international development of motion pictures. According to Wikipedia, prior to the announcement of nominations, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Gone with the Wind were the two films most widely tipped to receive a significant number of nominations. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington premiered in Washington with a premier party hosted by the National Press Club who found themselves portrayed unfavourably in the film; the film's theme of political corruption was condemned and the film was denounced in the U.S. Senate. Joseph P. Kennedy, the U.S. Ambassador to Britain urged President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the studio head Harry Cohn to cease showing the film overseas because "it will cause our allies to view us in an unfavourable light". Among those who campaigned in favour of the film were Hedda Hopper who declared it "as great as Lincoln's Gettysburg speech", while Sheilah Graham called it the "best talking picture ever made". Screen Book magazine stated that it "should win every Academy Award". Frank Capra, the director, and James Stewart, the film's star were considered front runners to win awards. Gone with the Wind premiered in December 1939 with a Gallup Poll taken shortly before its release concluding that 56.5 million people intended to see the film. The New York Film Critics Award was given to Wuthering Heights after thirteen rounds of balloting had left the voters deadlocked between Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Gone with the Wind. The press were divided in their support for the nominated actors. Time Magazine favoured Vivien Leigh and used her portrait for their Christmas 1939 edition, and the Hollywood Reporter predicted a possible win by Leigh and Laurence Olivier with the comment that they "are, for the moment, just about the most sacred of all Hollywood's sacred cows". West Coast newspapers, particularly in Los Angeles, predicted Bette Davis would win for Dark Victory. Observing that Davis had achieved four box office successes during the year, one paper wrote, "Hollywood will stick by its favourite home-town girl, Bette Davis". The director Frank Capra was the incumbent President of the Academy, and in a first for Academy Awards ceremonies, sold the rights for the event to be filmed. Warner Bros. obtained the rights, for $30,000 to film the banquet and the presentation of the awards, to use as a short, and it was shot by the cinematographer Charles Rosher.Variety Magazine noted that the stars in attendance were conscious of being filmed at the event for the first time and that the event was marked by glamour with fashion conscious actress wearing the best of gowns, furs and jewellery. The Los Angeles Times printed a substantially accurate list of winners, despite a promise to withhold the results of the voting, so many of the nominees learned before arriving at the ceremony who had won. Among these were Clark Gable and Bette Davis who knew they had not won in their respective categories before entering the ceremony. As the evening progressed, Gone with the Wind won the majority of awards, and Bob Hope remarked to David O. Selznick, "David, you should have brought roller skates". Making a speech, Selznick paused to extend praise and gratitude to Olivia de Havilland, a "Best Supporting Actress" nominee, and made it clear in his speech that he knew she had not won. Fay Bainter presented the awards for Best Supporting Actor and Actress, prefacing her presentation of the latter award with the knowing comment, "It is a tribute to a country where people are free to honor noteworthy achievements regardless of creed, race or color". Hattie McDaniel became the first black performer to win an Academy Award and in expressing her gratitude promised to be "a credit to my race" before bursting into tears. Olivia de Havilland was among those to make their way to McDaniel's table to offer congratulations, though it was reported that de Havilland then fled to the kitchen, where she burst into tears. The press reported that an irritated Irene Meyer Selznick followed her, and told her to return to their table and stop making a fool of herself. Following the banquet, Frank Capra opened proceedings at 11pm with a short speech before introducing Bob Hope who made his first appearance as host of the awards. Looking at a table laden with awards awaiting presentation, he quipped, "I feel like I'm in Bette Davis' living room". Robert Donat, the winner for "Best Actor" was one of three nominated actors not present (the others were Irene Dunne and Greta Garbo). Accepting the award for Donat, Spencer Tracy said that he was sure Donat's win was welcomed by "the entire motion-picture industry" before presenting the "Best Actress" award to Vivien Leigh. The press noted that Bette Davis was among those waiting to congratulate Leigh as she returned to her table. Further controversy erupted following the ceremony, with the Los Angeles Times reporting that Leigh had won over Davis by the smallest of margins and that Donat had likewise won over James Stewart by a small number of votes. This led Academy officials to examine ways that the voting process, and more importantly, the results, would remain secret in future years. They considered the Los Angeles Times publication of such details as a breach of faith. Hattie McDaniel received considerable attention from the press with Daily Variety writing, "Not only was she the first of her race to receive an Award, but she was also the first Negro ever to sit at an Academy banquet". Carole Lombard was quoted as comforting Gable after his loss, with the comment "don't worry, Pappy. We'll bring one home next year". Gable replied that he felt this had been his last chance to which Lombard was said to have replied, "Not you, you self-centered bastard. I meant me."

Winners Synopsis[]

Wuthering Heights won for Best Black and White Cinematography

The Rains Came for Best Special Effects

When Tomorrow Comes won for Best Sound Recording

Busy Little Bears won for Best One Reel Live Action Short

Sons Of Liberty won for Best Two Reel Live Action Short

The Ugly Duckling won for Best Animated Short

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington won for Best Story

Goodbye Mr. Chips won for Best Actor

Stagecoarch won 2 Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Score

The Wizard Of Oz won its 2 Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song (Over The Rainbow)

=================================== AND FINALLY =======================================[]

Gone With The Wind won 8 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Technicolor Cinematography, and Best Film Editing