Janet Gaynor (A Star Is Born)
Jane Wyatt – Lost Horizon
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with some very fine performances and any of them would have been a worthy winner in this category.
5. Greta Garbo
4. Barbara Stanwyck
3. Irene Dunne
2. Luise Rainer
1. Janet Gaynor
5. Stella Dallas – Stanwyck carries this film with her amazing performance but the story itself drags along way too much. The way they show the social climate in post World War I New England is interesting to view and they manage to give a nice platform for the main character to thrive. Her character arc works well and we get to see over the course of the years how she changes her opinions on things when the things most dear to her also begin to change. Stanwyck and Shirley were both nominated for Oscars for their roles here as Best Actress and Supporting Actress.
4. The Good Earth – This 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.
3. The Awful Truth – Really 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. Camille – Very interesting film that gives the opportunity to see how love triangles are quite universal and timeless. The cast is great and is led by Garbo who shows how powerful and actress she can be. She was rightfully nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress for her work here, yet lost to Rainer who did something great with her role too. Garbo has great chemistry with her two suitors played by Taylor and Daniell. The overall story is one that has been redone numerous times in the 80+ years since this film was made, but it still works quite well.
1. A Star Is Born – Very interesting premise that is so timeless (as the many remakes help prove). The story flows so well and it’s fascinating to see how the story evolves even when looking at things from the perspective of 8 decades ago. March and Gaynor are both superb here and the way that fame has it’s ups and downs are presented quite well here. Very deserving of it’s nomination for Best Picture, even if it wasn’t the best film that year.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No! I understand how LR won this award but JG gives a much more powerful performance in ASIB and was slightly more deserving.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!