Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Katie-Bar-The-Door Awards Redux (1932-1933)

In 1933, the Academy finally got wise to itself and decided to stop with the silly split-award year business. Starting with 1934, the film eligibility year would run from January 1 to December 31, just like you'd expect.

But in order to pull that off, the Oscar season in 1932-33 ran for a record length of time, from August 1, 1932 to December 31, 1933—seventeen months, a record unlikely to be broken. The result was potentially one of the best Oscar years in history, in terms of what was actually eligible: Duck Soup, King Kong, Trouble in Paradise, Dinner at Eight, Design For Living, Red Dust, Boudu Saved From Drowning, The Invisible Man, Queen Christina, Sons of the Desert, Baby Face, The Bitter Tea of General Yen. And on top of that, Fritz Lang's classic M arrived in the United States in 1933, making it eligible for an award come Oscar time. Boy, what a year!

And how many of those films won an Oscar or were even nominated? None. Not a one. The actual winner that year was a high-toned snoozer, Cavalcade, from the usually reliable Noel Coward. It's not a terrible movie, but for my money it's the worst one ever to win the top prize. Which is saying something.

No wonder people like me start alternate Oscar blogs.

winner: King Kong (prod. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack)
nominees: The Bitter Tea Of General Yen (prod. Frank Capra); I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang (prod. Hal B. Wallis); The Invisible Man (prod. Carl Laemmle, Jr.); Red Dust (prod. Hunt Stromberg and Irving Thalberg)
Must-See Drama: Baby Face; The Bitter Tea Of General Yen; Blonde Venus; Counsellor At Law; Downstairs; I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang; The Invisible Man; Island Of Lost Souls; King Kong; Little Women; The Most Dangerous Game; The Mummy; The Old Dark House; One Way Passage; Peg O' My Heart; Queen Christina; Red Dust

PICTURE (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Duck Soup (prod. Herman J. Mankiewicz)
nominees: Dinner At Eight (prod. David O. Selznick); 42nd Street (prod. Darryl F. Zanuck); Gold Diggers Of 1933 (prod. Jack L. Warner and Robert Lord); Trouble In Paradise (prod. Ernst Lubitsch)
Must-See Comedy/Musical: Design For Living; Dinner At Eight; Duck Soup; Footlight Parade; 42nd Street; Gold Diggers Of 1933; Horse Feathers; I'm No Angel; Love Me Tonight; The Private Life of Henry VIII; She Done Him Wrong; Sons Of The Desert; Three Little Pigs; Trouble In Paradise

PICTURE (Foreign Language)
winner: Zero For Conduct (prod. Jean Vigo)
nominees: Boudu Saved From Drowning (prod. Michel Simon); Liebelei (prod. Herman Millakowsky); The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse (prod. Fritz Lang and Seymour Nebenzal); Vampyr (prod. Carl Theodor Dreyer and Julian West)
Must-See Foreign Language: Boudu Saved From Drowning; Fanny; Liebelei; The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse; Vampyr; Zero For Conduct

ACTOR (Drama)
winner: Paul Muni (I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang)
nominees: Nils Asther (The Bitter Tea Of General Yen); Claude Rains (The Invisible Man); Paul Robeson (The Emperor Jones)

ACTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: The Marx Brothers (Horse Feathers and Duck Soup)
nominees: James Cagney (Footlight Parade); Charles Laughton (The Private Life Of Henry VIII); Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (Sons Of The Desert); Herbert Marshall (Trouble In Paradise); Michel Simon (Boudu Saved From Drowning)

winner: Greta Garbo (Queen Christina)
nominees: Kay Francis (Jewel Robbery and One Way Passage); Katharine Hepburn (Little Women); Barbara Stanwyck (The Bitter Tea Of General Yen and Baby Face); Fay Wray (The Most Dangerous Game and King Kong)

ACTRESS (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Jean Harlow (Red Dust, Dinner At Eight and Bombshell)
nominees: Joan Blondell (The Gold Diggers Of 1933); Miriam Hopkins (Trouble in Paradise and Design For Living); May Robson (Lady For A Day); Mae West (I'm No Angel)

winner: James Whale (The Old Dark House and The Invisible Man)
nominees: Frank Capra (The Bitter Tea Of General Yen); Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack (King Kong); Carl Theodor Dreyer (Vampyr); Fritz Lang (The Testament Of Dr. Mabuse); Mervyn LeRoy (I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang); Rouben Mamoulian (Queen Christina)

DIRECTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Ernst Lubitsch (Trouble In Paradise and Design For Living)
nominees: Lloyd Bacon (42nd Street and Footlight Parade); George Cukor (Dinner At Eight); Victor Fleming (Red Dust and Bombshell); Leo McCarey (Duck Soup); Jean Renoir (Boudu Saved From Drowning); Jean Vigo (Zero For Conduct)

winner:John Barrymore (Dinner At Eight)
nominees: Edward Everett Horton (Trouble In Paradise and Design For Living); Edgar Kennedy (Duck Soup); Guy Kibbee (Gold Diggers of 1933, Lady For A Day and Footlight Parade); Adolphe Menjou (A Farewell To Arms)

winner: Margaret Dumont (Duck Soup)
nominees: Billie Burke (Dinner At Eight); Marie Dressler (Dinner At Eight); Elsa Lanchester (The Private Life of Henry VIII); Una O'Connor (The Invisible Man)

winner: Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, Arthur Sheekman and Nat Perrin (Duck Soup)
nominees: Jean Renoir and Albert Valentin; from a play by René Fauchois (Boudu Saved From Drowning); Frances Marion and Herman J. Mankiewicz; additional dialogue Donald Ogden Stewart; from a play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber (Dinner At Eight); Howard J. Green and Brown Holmes, from the autobiography by Robert E. Burns (I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang); Grover Jones and Samson Raphelson; from a play by Aladar Laszlo (Trouble In Paradise)

BEST SONG (Reader Voted)
winner: "The Gold Diggers Song (We're In The Money)" music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin (Gold Diggers Of 1933)
nominees: "Forty-Second Street" music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin (42nd Street); "Isn't It Romantic" music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart (Love Me Tonight); "Remember My Forgotten Man" music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Al Dubin (Gold Diggers Of 1933); "Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf" music and lyrics by Frank Church and Ted Sears (Three Little Pigs)

Busby Berkeley (Career Achievement); Three Little Pigs (prod. Walt Disney) (Short Subject/Animated); Murray Spivak (King Kong) (Sound); Max Steiner (King Kong) (Score); Willis O'Brien, Marcel Delgado and E.B. Gibson (King Kong) (Special Effects); Willis O'Brien, Sydney Saunders and Linwood Dunn (King Kong) (Visual Effects); Carroll Clark and Alfred Herman (King Kong) (Art Direction/Set Decoration); Ted Cheesman (King Kong) (Film Editing); Rudolph Maté (Vampyr) (Cinematography); John Armstrong (The Private Life Of Henry VIII) (Costumes); Jack P. Pierce (The Mummy) (Makeup)

1 comment:

Erik Beck said...

Saying Cavalcade is the worst makes me think you should go back and watch Broadway Melody, Cimarron, Greatest Show on Earth or Braveheart again, but I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Very good choices here. But you miss out on "Hail Hail Freedonia" for Best Song, or since you have Horse Feathers here, "I'm Against It" and "Everyone Says I Love You."

But also Glenda Farrell for her dark work as the blackmailing wife in I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang. She's my Supporting Actress pick of the year.