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The 9th Academy Awards in 1937
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These movies stand the test of time even if their effects are outdated. Generation after generation enjoys these movies in spite of their out-of-date settings or clothing.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?
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!
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
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Best Supporting Actor
Come and Get It
Best Supporting Actress
Pierre Collings and Sheridan Gibney
The Story of Louis Pasteur
The Great Ziegfeld
Best Assistant Director
Charge of the Light Brigade
Best Dance Director
The Great Ziegfeld
Douglas Shearer, MGM
Best Sound Recording
Best Art Direction
The Way You Look Tonight
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.
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