Wednesday, December 26, 2007

10th Academy Awards

The 10th Academy Awards were held on March 10, 1938 at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. Originally scheduled to be held on March 3, 1938, the ceremony was postponed due to heavy flooding in Los Angeles.

This years winner was The life of Emile Zola a biographical picture. It depicts Zola's friendship with noted painter Paul Cézanne and his involvement in the Dreyfus affair. The film was a great success both critically and financially, It is the first biographical film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. In 2000,The Life of Emile Zola was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The movie features Paul Muni and Gale Sondergaard and it won a total of 3 Oscars (Best Picture, best supporting actor and Best screenplay) and 7 nominations.

The Best Director award went to Leo McCarey, a film director, screenwriter and producer. During his lifetime he was involved in almost 200 movies, especially comedies, where he demonstrated his great elegance and his fine sense of humour.McCarey teamed Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy together for the first time, thus creating one of the most enduring comedy teams of all time. He only officially appeared as director of the duo shorts We Faw Down (1928), Liberty (1929) and Wrong Again (1929), but wrote many of the screenplays. In the sound era McCarey ventured into feature-film directing, working with many of the greatest talents of the time, including Gloria Swanson (Indiscreet, 1931), Eddie Cantor (The Kid From Spain, 1932), the Marx Brothers (Duck Soup, 1933), W.C. Fields (Six of a Kind, 1934), Mae West (Belle of the Nineties, 1934), and Harold Lloyd (The Milky Way, 1936). He won his first Academy Award for Directing for The Awful Truth (1937, with Cary Grant and Irene Dunne), the quintessential screwball comedy that launched Cary Grant's unique screen persona, largely concocted by McCarey. In 1944 he directed Going My Way, a story about an enterprising priest, the youthful Father Chuck O'Malley, played by Bing Crosby, for which he won his second Best Director Oscar. McCarey's share in the profits of this smash hit gave McCarey the highest reported income in the U.S. for the year 1944, and its follow-up, The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), which was made by McCarey's own production company, was similarly successful. The public reacted negatively to some of his films after the Korean War. For instance, his anti-communist film My Son, John(1952), failed at the box office. Five years later, however, he was back on top, as co-author, producer, and director of An Affair to Remember, a classic romantic comedy with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, a deft remake of his 1939 classic Love Affair with Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer (although critics largely agree that the first version was superior, the Cary Grant film overshadowed it and Love Affair remains largely forgotten today). He followed this hit with Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!(1958), a comedy starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Some years later he directed his last picture, the poorly-received Satan Never Sleeps (1962).Leo McCarey died seven years later of emphysema.

The Award for the Best performance by an actor in a leading role went to Spencer Tracy for his role in Captain Courageous. Tracy appeared in 74 films from 1930 to 1967. Tracy is generally regarded as one of the finest actors in motion picture history. In 1999, the American Film Institute named him among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking 9th on the list of 100. He was nominated for nine Academy Awards for Best Actor. His first Broadway role was as a robot in Karel Čapek's R.U.R. (1922), followed by five other Broadway plays in the 1920s. In 1923 he married actress Louise Treadwell. They had two children, John and Louise (Susie).For several years he performed in stock in Michigan, Canada, and Ohio. Finally in 1930 he appeared in a hit play on Broadway, The Last Mile. Director John Ford saw Tracy in The Last Mile and signed him to do Up the River (1930) with Humphrey Bogart for Fox Film Corporation. Shortly after that he and his family moved to Hollywood, where he made over 25 films in five years. In 1935 Tracy signed with Metro Goldwyn Mayer. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor two years in a row, for Captains Courageous (1937) and Boys Town (1938). He was also nominated for San Francisco (1936), Father of the Bride (1950), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), The Old Man and the Sea (1958), Inherit the Wind (1960), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), and posthumously for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967). Tracy and Laurence Olivier share the record for the most Academy Best Actor nods with nine Oscar nominations. In 1941, during the filming of Woman of the Year, Tracy began a relationship with Katharine Hepburn, who had just ended a five-year affair with director John Ford. Hepburn's agile mind, sleek elegance, and New England brogue complemented Tracy's easy working-class machismo very well. Their relationship, which neither would discuss publicly, lasted until Tracy's death in 1967. Whether the two stars were close friends and kindred spirits, or had a sexual affair, is still a matter of speculation. Though estranged from his wife Louise, Tracy was a practicing Roman Catholic and never divorced her. Seventeen days after filming had completed on his last film, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, with Hepburn, he died from heart failure at the age of 67. The film was released in December, six months after his death. Forty years after his death, Tracy is still widely considered one of the most skillful actors of his time.
In the category for Best Supporting Actor, Joseph Schildkraut was named as winner. Born in Austria, Schildkraut moved to the United States in the early 1900's. He appeared in many Broadway productions. He then began working in silent movies, although he did return to the stage occasionally. He had early success in film as the Chevalier de Vaudrey in D.W. Griffith's Orphans of the Storm with Lillian Gish. Later, he was featured in Cecil B. DeMille's epic 1927 film The King of Kings, as Judas Iscariot. Schildraut's father Rudolf also appeared in the film. He received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Alfred Dreyfus in The Life of Emile Zola (1937). He gained further fame for playing the ambitious duc d'Orléans in the historical epic Marie Antoinette (1938), opposite Norma Shearer, Tyrone Power, John Barrymore and Robert Morley. He is also remembered for playing the role of Otto Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). Schildkraut was married three times. He died in New York.

The Award for Best Supporting Actress went to Alice Brady. Her first film was the silent As Ye Sow (1915) as Dora Leland. She acted in more than 50 silent films throughout her career, but during the 1920s she was more prolific as a stage performer. She returned to the screen in 1933 in her first sound film, When Ladies Meet. For her portrayal of Mrs. Molly O'Leary in 1937's In Old Chicago, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She had previously been nominated as Best Supporting Actress for her role in 1936's My Man Godfrey as the daffy matriarch. Brady's statuette was swiped by a male impostor who came onstage to accept the award on the absent actress' behalf. It has never been recovered, and the imposter was never tracked down. Before the Academy could re-issue another copy of the statuette, Brady passed away. Alice Brady died in New York City of cancer in 1939 five days before her 47th birthday, shortly after filming Young Mr. Lincoln.

The Best Actress Oscar went to Louise Rainer for her role in The Good Earth. Sweet Leilani is a song from the 1937 film, "Waikiki Wedding". It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and was popularized by Bing Crosby who recorded it in 1935.

The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award was given to Darryl F. Zanuck a producer, writer, actor and director who played a major part in the Hollywood studio system as one of its longest survivors. In 1933 he left Warners to found Twentieth Century Pictures with Joseph Schenck and William Goetz, releasing their material through United Artists. In 1935 they bought out Fox studios to become Twentieth Century-Fox. Zanuck was vice-president of this new studio and took an interventionist approach, closely involved in editing and producing.He returned to control of Fox in 1962, replacing Spyros Skouras, in a confrontation over the release of Zanuck's production of The Longest Day as the studio struggled to finish the difficult filming of Cleopatra (1963) . He made his son Richard D. Zanuck head of production. He became involved in a power struggle with the board and his son from around 1969. In May 1971 Zanuck was finally forced from 'his' studio. He died of jaw cancer in Palm Springs, California at the age of 77.

The Honorary awards were given to:
Museum of Modern Art Film Library- For its significant work in collecting films dating from 1895 to the present and for the first time making available to the public the means of studying the historical and aesthetic development of the motion picture as one of the major arts.
Edgar Bergen- For his outstanding comedy creation, Charlie McCarthy (wooden statuette).
Mack Sennett- For his lasting contribution to the comedy technique of the screen, the basic principles of which are as important today as when they were first put into practice,
Star Is Born, A (1937) - W. Howard Greene- For the color photography of A Star Is Born.

The awards were hosted by Bob Burns, a popular American radio and film comedian during the 1930s and 1940s.

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