Frank Morgan – The Wizard of Oz
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with 5 outstanding nominees in this category and all of them were worthy of winning for these performances.
5. Harry Carey
4. Brian Donlevy
3. Brian Aherne
2. Claude Rains
1. Thomas Mitchell
4. Juarez – Interesting historical drama that does a nice job showing the three varying sides of this conflict from the perspective of those trying to hold on to their power. We get a clear idea of what each of these three men are trying to do and things are kept in a neutral perspective to try and be somewhat unbiased. The cast is superb with Rains, Muni and Aherne all doing wonderful jobs portraying these true to life figures. Aherne was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance here which is the most powerful and poignant of the trio. The story might be a a bit too long and there are a few scenes that seem to drag along.
3. Beau Geste – Great story about brotherly and familial love that works on numerous levels. The cast is great with Cooper, Milland and (a very young) Preston all giving great performances. The story is told really well in flashback after the first scene makes little sense until you know the background of it all. We can easily feel the connection between these brothers and know that they will each do whatever it takes to help out the others in the time of need. Donlevy was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his very brutal performance as the legionnaire commander who must keep his troops together under very dire circumstances.
2. Stagecoach – One 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.
1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – A 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.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yep! TM is as good a choice as possible in this crew of great performances but any of them could have easily won.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!