The 9th Academy Awards in 1937

Oscar

The original Oscar with wreath instead of sword.
The original Oscar with wreath instead of sword. | Source

Background for the 9th Academy Awards.

Come with me in the way back machine to take a look at the Academy Awards Ceremony of 1937. I love old movies or should I say "the classics"? Classic movies have so much to offer from the amazing things they did in the thirties to the actors and their performances. The thirties were the first full decade for the Oscars and the actual beginning of the classics.

These movies stand the test of time even if their effects are outdated. Generation after generation enjoys these movies in spite of their out-of-date settings or clothing. Like a good book, its still valuable entertainment.

There aren't many reading this that remember 1937. In January, the first issue of Look magazine went on sale (of course some of you won't remember Look magazine either). Howard Hughes flew from Los Angeles to New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt was serving his second term, Detective Comics introduced Batman, and the first Charlie Chaplin talkie, "Modern Times," was released. Talking of movies, Walt Disney released "Snow White and The Seven Drwarfs" in 1937.

March 1937, the 9th Academy Awards were held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California.

1937 Oscar Poll

How many of the six films nominated for multiple awards are you familiar with?

  • One to three
  • One to six
  • One period!
  • I never heard of any of these movies.
See results without voting

1936 Films - 1937 Oscars

9th Academy Awards

To my surprise I found out the host was George Jessel. Jessel was an actor, songwriter, singer, movie producer and comedian, also known as "The Toastmaster of the United States". A good choice for an awards host.

Things were different back then. This was the year they introduced the award for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress. Did you know back then the award for them was a plaque? It wasn't changed to the statuette until 1943.

According to digitalhits.com, the following film(s) had five or more nominations:

  • The Great Ziegfeld: 7
  • Dodsworth: 7
  • Anthony Adverse: 7
  • My Man Godfrey: 6
  • San Francisco: 6
  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town: 5

Looking at the nominees, how many are you familiar with? Do you know the name Flo Ziegfeld? How about the Ziegfeld Follies? Florenz Ziegfeld, was the producer of extravagant stage revues.

The Great Ziegfeld

The winner of Best Picture in 1937. This story of Flo Ziegfeld starred the irresistible Myrna Loy and William Powell who starred in several films together as Nick and Nora Charles.

Like many artists, Ziegfeld's vision was not recognized while he was alive. He forever changed Broadway from a vaudeville stage to one of beautiful girls and pageantry. Of course this film is a musical and yes, it is filled with pageantry; dancing girls, prancing girls, singing and fabulous costumes. Ziegfeld is responsible for bringing Fanny Brice and Ray Bolger to Broadway (each plays themselves in the movie). Ziegfeld marries Broadway star Billie Burke (the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz), played by Myrna Loy. She is his second wife. His first wife is played by Luise Rainer who won an Academy Award for Best Actress. Did I forget to tell you Ziegfeld was played by William Powell?

One of his biggest Broadway hits, aside from the Ziegfeld Follies, was the Broadway production of Showboat. Looking back now, it is safe to say you need to love musicals, Myrna Loy & William Powell (both of whom I adore), Flo Ziegfeld, or classic movies to really like this film in 2013. It won three Oscars in total and is a film you really should see.

The Story of Louis Pasteur

The Best Actor award went to Paul Muni for his starring role in The Story of Louis Pasteur. I just loved this movie. Paul Muni is just so love-able. Pasteur's contemporaries, for the most part, considered him a quack as he studied microbiology trying to convince them there are germs everywhere. He tried to convince his colleagues to boil instruments and wash their hands to kill germs. The movie adheres pretty closely to Pasteur's life. A really historically interesting film. Watch it to find out how Pasteur finally convinces his colleagues he's right!

Carole Lombard

Source

My Man Godfry

This is a comedy and though it didn't win any awards I list it here because it was nominated for six Academy Awards. It is the only film in Oscar history, according to Wikipedia, to be nominated in all four categories and not be nominated for Best Picture and the only film in Oscar history to be nominated for six Academy Awards and not win any! Dubious honor aside, it is a light-hearted comedy with William Powell at his best. This time his co-star is Carole Lombard. Its the story of a socialite who hires a bum to be her butler, and yes, you already know, she falls in love with him. Its really a fun film you won't be sorry you watched.

Other Academy Award Winners in 1937

Award Recipient
Award
Movie
Frank Capra
Best Director
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Walter Brennan
Best Supporting Actor
Come and Get It
Gale Sondergaard
Best Supporting Actress
Anthony Adverse
Pierre Collings and Sheridan Gibney
Best Story
The Story of Louis Pasteur
The Great Ziegfeld
Outstanding Production
 
Jack Sullivan
Best Assistant Director
Charge of the Light Brigade
Seymour Felix
Best Dance Director
The Great Ziegfeld
Douglas Shearer, MGM
Best Sound Recording
San Francisco
Richard Day
Best Art Direction
Dodsworth
The Way You Look Tonight
Best Song
Swing Time

Some other Movies That Were Nominated but Didn't Win an Award

  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • My Man Godfrey
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Gorgeous Hussy
  • These Three
  • Pigskin Parade
  • The General Died at Dawn
  • After the Thin Man
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade
  • The Garden of Allah
  • The Last of the Mohicans

Additional Facts About the Ninth Academy Awards

This year, 1937, was the last year for the category of Assistant Director.

Walt Disney won yet another award for Best Animated Film, his fifth in a row. Walt Disney is still the winner with the most nominations and the most wins of Academy Awards.

In order for a film to be nominated, in 1937, it had to have been publicly shown in the Los Angeles "district" during 1936. The Academy did allow films that were nationally released in 1936 to be considered as well.

The movie "Swing Time" starred America's favorite dancing couple, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Luise Rainer was the first actress to win back to back Oscars. Her second Oscar was for her role in "The Good Earth". Rainer was born in Germany to a prosperous Jewish family. She was an actress in Germany but due to Hitler's rise she took an offer for an acting contract here in the United States. After many difficulties with the culture of Hollywood, she left acting when she married in 1945. Interestingly enough she outlived most of her contemporaries in Hollywood.

I hope you've enjoyed this look at the Ninth Academy Awards with it's little glimpse into Hollywood history. Please check out the movies listed, I have a feeling you'll enjoy them. This is one in a series about Academy Awards. Please stop by and visit The 15th Academy Awards - 1943.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All rights Reserved

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Comments 27 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Great job Mary! I actually saw two of those movies, and I've heard of all the actors and actresses. I'm kind of happy I haven't seen more of the films or I would feel really old right now. LOL


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this trip down memory lane. Well researched


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

what fun to read this. I am a follower of movies and stars ...I think things were a bit simpler in those days. You did a great job. Voting up +++ and pinning..


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I know what you mean Bill...I was happy I DIDN'T know some of them.

Thanks Mhatter!

I love movies too Carol, especially the classics. Thanks for the vote and pin!


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Since I love movies then you know I am enchanted with this reprisal of Oscar winners in '37. Since I am older than soil this was actual deja vu. You did a standout job with this one, Tillsontitan. Trust me!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Well thank you very much drbj. I'm always glad when someone really enjoys a topic I like to write about!


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Hi, Mary!

In high school, I was an enthusiastic thespian and played Gaylord Ravenal in "Showboat." So I keyed in on the part where you mention that this was one of Ziegfeld's noteworthy Broadway productions.

I'm right there alongside of you in appreciation and awe of the old classics and their accompanying annual celebration in the form of the Academy Awards ceremony. As the proverbial saying goes, "They sure don't make 'em like they use to..."


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

What a marvelous part to play HawaiiO! Showboat was such a great play and movie, done the way they were so to speak. The good thing about the Oscars is they highlight some of the best and give us a starting point if we want to look back. Thanks so much for your wonderful comment.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 3 years ago from London, England

Another enjoyable read Mary. Keep em coming! :)

Not my favourite movie year but checking my movie database I own 42 films from that year. My two favourites are The Marx Bros 'A Day at the Races' and Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' which in my book deserved the Best Picture Oscar award that year.

Voted Up and Interesting.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I'm with you there Steve, I think Snow White was one of the best movies of all time. I know liberties were taken with the original story but watching that movie and remembering when it was made just give me chills! What a marvelously, beautiful movie it is.

Thanks my friend for always reading and commenting.


PaisleeGal profile image

PaisleeGal 3 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Very interesting. I've seen all the movies you've listed. Love the "classics" and never tire of watching them. Think my fav for the that year is the My Man Godfry. Anything with William Powell is a must see.

How 'bout doing a hub on the 1939 movies. That's the best year during the 30s-40s. More all time classics where done that year than any other.

Given the choice a classic film or one in the last decade and I'll choose the classic anytime for countless reasons.

Keep up the great info!!! voted up!


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 3 years ago from Virginia

A very interesting look at the Academy Awards ....I found lots of interesting material in your hub. I had never even heard of the host, George Jessel, before reading your hub. I wonder if 2088 people will remember who Seth MacFarlane was when they read who hosted the most recent show.

I was going to comment that this was the first year for Best Supporting Actor and Actress....but you had that base covered as well. One of the things I have tried to do is watch all the Oscar winning performances since they started back in 1927.....Gale Sondergaard's Oscar winning role is one of the few that have escaped me so far...but one day I will find and watch Anthony Adverse.

As for the winner...The Great Ziegfeld is a good movie but has not aged well and is one of the weaker Best Picture winners of all-time...in my humble opinion.

Voted up and very interesting.


Sheri Faye profile image

Sheri Faye 3 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

Very interesting hub. I have never seen any of those movies. Hmm..I wonder if any are on Netflix. Thanks for this.


Laurinzo Scott profile image

Laurinzo Scott 3 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

What a wonderful trip through history Tills...

I love movies before, all the extra 'garbage'... just acting and great scripting


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I loved "My Man Godfry" just the right amount of light comedy and romance PaisleeGal. I'm working through the Apprentice Program and not all titles are available but I'll keep my eye out for 1939!

Funny Cogerson, I agree with what you said about "The Great Ziegfeld"...it is a nice tribute to Mr. Ziegfeld but certainly not one of the better Oscar winners. I haven't seen Anthony Adverse either. I blushingly admit I'd never even heard of it before! Thanks for the votes.

You're welcome Sheri. I'm sure you'll enjoy some of them. My husband's favorite is "The Last of the Mohicans" and I have to admit its a pretty decent piece of history.

Oh Laurinzo, how right you are! REAL movies, no garbage!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Hi Mary (Till),

Thanks for taking us way back in time and giving us a wonderful glimpse into Hollywood history. I have heard of at least three movies.

Excellent write and very thorough.

Voted up +++ and sharing

God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

It always thrills me to see your name in the comments section of my hubs! It makes me happier still that you enjoy them. Thanks for the votes and share. Hugs.


mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I love the old Classics! I enjoyed reading about the Academy Awards of 1937. I watched the award ceremony for this year and I have to tell you I have only seen one of those movies. I don't waste my time with new and modern movies.

I have bookmarked this Hub and will see if I can get some of these classics on my Netflix.

Voted UP, etc.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you Mary and I hope you find some on Netflix. They are truly great movies!


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

hi tillsontitan,

thanks for your article here about the academy awards.

i dont think i've ever watched an old movies.

thanks for the read though; i really did enjoy myself.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Glad you enjoyed Torrilyn...maybe now you'll watch an old movie!


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Mary,

I don't recognize the movies and the actors, but I found this hub fascinating.

Thanks to you.

Cheers


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

American classics Vinaya, definitely before your time. Thank you so much for reading.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I also looove old movies. Whoever said, “They don’t make them like they used to,” knew what he or she was talking about. I so enjoyed this hub, and the trip in the time machine to revisit these films. Frank Capra was a genius; the word, Capra-esque is still used today to denote heroes and the impact that individuals with courage can have on society. Excellent hub, Mary! :-)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Genna thanks for the super comment. I obviously agree but its nice to see someone else's opinion stated so well!


xstatic profile image

xstatic 3 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Great one Mary! I read recently that the Pasteur movie was Warner Bros first historical biography and that Paul Muni convinced them to make it. I am pretty sure that I have seen Mr. Deeds and San Francisco, probably on an old movie channel in the 70s.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Muni did a great job. At one of his promotions for the movie, a little boy thought he was Pasteur and he said that was his greatest compliment!

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