Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1937


Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

William Dieterle (The Life of Emile Zola)
Sidney Franklin (The Good Earth)
Gregoy La Cava (Stage Door)
Leo McCarey (The Awful Truth)
William A. Wellman (A Star Is Born)

Biggest Snub:

Frank Capra – Lost Horizon

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a year where only two of the nominees were very deserving of being nominated for their work and the other three (including the ultimate winner) are a bit baffling when looking back 80+ years later.

My Rankings:

Directing

5. Gregoy La Cava
4. Sidney Franklin
3. Leo McCarey
2. William Dieterle
1. William A. Wellman

Movies

5. The Good EarthThis isn’t a film that translates very well to the screen and is probably much more interesting as a novel. Muni and Rainer are both actually convincing as Orientals despite both of them being so distant from that origin. The story moves along at a super slow pace and despite a few interesting scenes, most of it is quite boring to watch. Rainer won Best Actress being the first person to win consecutive Oscars in the same acting category.
4. Stage DoorAnother Best Picture nominee that probably doesn’t meet the requirements for truly being among the best of the best. Ironically (and sadly), some of the antics depicted here between producers and aspiring actresses is still relevant today more than 80 years later. Hepburn and Rogers are both fine here with Menjou playing the perfect executive. Nice seeing Ball and Arden in small roles.
3. The Awful TruthReally fun screwball comedy that works on so many levels. Grant and Dunne have great back and forth chemistry that is hilarious to watch unfold. Bellamy is great in a role of a character who is there just for the laughs but takes himself so seriously. The antics that both of these characters play in order to ruin the other’s budding relationships are quite clever and works so well.
2. The Life of Emile ZolaGreat early courtroom drama. Based on a true story. Muni is superb in the title role.
1. A Star Is BornThis is such a great story because it is relate-able to just about anyone since its main theme is about fulfilling one’s dreams. The story works really well and knowing all that most of us know about how Hollywood works, the path of the story seems quite plausible. The cast is great and both Gaynor and March do wonderful jobs presenting this story.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Not Really!  LM does a nice job with TAT, but there were two other nominees that were more deserving to have won for their work.

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

2 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1937

  1. With you here. None of the movies really jump out and distance themselves from the others, but considering the fact that Wellman directed the original A Star Is born which is still alive and kicking 80+ years later – maybe he should have won. Will be intersting to see if Bradley Cooper wins BD this year for the 4th iteration of the film.

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  2. Leo McCarey demonstrated his versatility this year also having made the poignant and heartbreaking drama about aging, Make Way For Tomorrow which might have tipped things in his favor. Apparently McCarey preferred the drama; on winning the Oscar he said, “You gave it to me for the wrong movie.”

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