Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)
Spencer Tracy – The Libeled Lady
My Overall Thoughts:
This was the very first year that this award was given. Only 2 of the 5 nominees really give stellar performances and it was really only a choice between both of them because the rest weren’t show-y enough performances.
5. Stuart Erwin
4. Akim Tamiroff
3. Basil Rathbone
2. Mischa Auer
1. Walter Brennan
5. Pigskin Parade – Terrible film that isn’t enjoyable in the least. The story doesn’t know whether it wants to be a comedy, a musical, a sport film or something else and that helps make it a complete mess. The characters aren’t memorable and even Erwin who was nominated in the inaugural year of the category of Best Supporting Oscar doesn’t manage to do enough with the character. The logo of the spinning football at the beginning and the end is the most interesting and memorable part of this terrible film.
4. Romeo and Juliet – Somewhat mediocre adaptation of The Bard’s famous work. None of the actors really stand out here but it is clear that the leads should have been younger than Howard and Shearer were. Its cold reception led to a drought in Hollywood when it came to adapting Shakespeare’s work until Olivier proved that it could be done a few years later.
3. Come and Get It – Interesting idea that comes across as being a bit lackluster. Arnold is fine in the lead role but doesn’t give a commanding enough performance in the role. Brennan is the obvious standout among the rest of the cast and managed to win his first (of 3) Best Supporting Actor Oscars for his work on this film. The lumber scenes are shot magnificently and it’s amazing to watch them on film shot from over 80 years ago presented so beautifully and graphically. The story itself gets a bit too soap opera-py and there are too many scenes that drag too much which hurts the film a lot.
2. The General Died at Dawn – Intriguing premise that comes across as being quite average. They do some nice things with the way this story is filmed yet still doesn’t find a way to enhance the story itself. Cooper is fine in the lead and he has nice chemistry with Carroll but something is still missing from the performances shown. Tamiroff was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the Chinese warlord and does a some nice things with the character. Milestone was a groundbreaking director and used some interesting ideas with this film but even they can’t make this film even more memorable.
1. My Man Godfrey – Great and fun story that manages to show how the Depression affected some more parts of society more severely than others. The way that the story plays out works really well and stays humorous the entire time. The chemistry between Powell and (his ex-wife) Lombard is great onscreen and they are able to give us such a great screwball comedy feeling throughout the film. This film is a great parable for the difference in classes in society and how its possible to try and break through such seemingly insurmountable barriers. Both Powell and Lombard were nominated for Oscars for this film as were Auer and Brady, but none managed to win.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely! Only two of these nominees come even close and Brennan was near perfect in this performance here with Auer.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!