Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1939

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)
Victor Fleming (Gone With the Wind)
John Ford (Stagecoach)
Sam Wood (Goodbye, Mr. Chips)
William Wyler (Wuthering Heights)

Biggest Snub:

Mervyn LeRoy   Victor Fleming – The Wizard of Oz

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a great year which had 5 excellent nominees in this category. There is no question that one of the film sis so much more powerful and epic than the rest and there wasn’t much of a competition here despite having such a stellar list of nominees.

My Rankings:


5. William Wyler
4. Sam Wood
3. John Ford
2. Frank Capra
1. Victor Fleming


5. Wuthering HeightsNice story that really captures the essence of the novel. The cast is great and allows us to really believe the love triangle between the characters. Does a great job depicting the different views of the wealthy and the poor on society and how true love can stay with a person for so many years despite other romantic tangents along the way.
4. StagecoachOne of John Ford’s earliest Westerns that is seen as one of the best in the genre. Loved the way they introduce all of the diverse characters and show how they each need to deal with one another during this dangerous and uncertain journey. Wayne is pretty good here despite showing his youthfulness in one of his most famous genres. There is so much going on here on multiple levels and it’s easy to interpret so many things in numerous ways which makes the story even more fascinating to watch unfold.
3. Goodbye, Mr. ChipsDonat is superb here and really deserved his Best Actor award for playing the title character. This film has inspired so many others ever since in the way they tell a life story in the right way. Still remains one of the best films about the life and rewards of teaching.
2. Mr. Smith Goes to WashingtonA true classic about how the American political system works (and doesn’t work). Capra really found a way to show the people how even the little people can enact change in the “system”. Very interesting how it seems that little has changed when dealing with congressional corruption in the 76 years since this came out. This is one of the movies that made me very interested in the US political system.
1. Gone With the WindBrilliant but a bit over-long film. Understandable why so many love this movie. Very deserving of its 8 Oscar wins.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Absolutely!  GWTW is one of the most epic films ever made and was the best film of this year despite there being some other great nominees.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

2 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1939

  1. Any other year – and Capra wins. But not with the GWTW juggernaut.That film was pre-destined. As for Mervyn LeRoy on you snub list – got that one wrong – because he was the film’s producer, NOT director. As a matter of fact – the credited director on Wizard of Oz was Victor Fleming – who was pulled off the movie to replace George Cukor on GWTW because Gable wasn’t getting along with him and thought he was favoring the women (probably was). So Fleming directed two classics in the same year.Quite impressive.

    Liked by 1 person

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