Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Academy Awards: 1934

It's time to have a look at the Academy Award winners, nominees and the snubs for 1934.

Winner: It Happened One Night, Nominees: The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Cleopatra, Flirtation Walk, The Gay Divorcee, Here Comes the Navy, The House of Rothschild, Imitation of Life, One Night of Love, The Thin Man, Viva Villa!, The White Parade

Winner: Clark Gable in "It Happened One Night", Nominees: Frank Morgan in "Affairs of Cellini", William Powell in "The Thin Man"

Winner: Claudette Colbert in "It Happened One Night", Nominees: Grace Moore in "One Night of Love", Norma Shearer in "The Barretts of Wimpole Street", Bette Davis in "Of Human Bondage" (a write-in candidate)

Winner: Frank Capra for "It Happened One Night", Nominees: Victor Schertzinger for "One Night of Love", W.S. Van Dyke for "The Thin Man"

Oscar Snubs and Omissions:
Myrna Loy in "The Thin Man
Marlene Dietrich in "The Scarlet Empress"
Bette Davis in "Of Human Bondage" (she was a write-in candidate but more on that later)
W.C. Fields in "It's A Gift"
Joseph Von Sternberg for directing "The Scarlet Empress"
Howard Hawks for directing "Twentieth Century"
John Barrymore in "Twentieth Century"
Edgar Ulmer for directing "The Black Cat"
Leslie Howard in "Of Human Bondage"

Film Snubs and Omissions:
Of Human Bondage
The Scarlet Empress
The Black Cat
Twentieth Century
It's A Gift

An honorable mention goes to "The Black Cat" for it's cinematography and art direction/set design

John Barrymore and Carole Lombard's performances in "Twentieth Century"

Leslie Howard and Bette Davis for their outstanding performances in "Of Human Bondage" as well as John Cromwell for directing.

Oscar Fun Facts and Trivia for 1934:

The ceremony was held in March of 1935 at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles and hosted by Irvin S. Cobb. It had been held at the Ambassador Hotel the previous three years and at the Biltmore previously in 1931.

This would be the first year that Oscars weren't handed out for performances, films spanning over two years and the way it would be going forward.

"It Happened One Night" would be the first film to claim a "clean sweep" , winning the golden statue for all five of the top categories, Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director and Best Screenplay. A feat not duplicated again until 1976 with "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" then again for "Silence of the Lambs" in 1992.

There was such a controversy, outrage over Bette Davis not being nominated for her performance in "Of Human Bondage" that the Academy allowed for a write-in candidate for the first time in Oscar history. Write-in candidates would be allowed until after 1935.

Three new categories would be introduced this year. Best Editing, Best Original Score and Best Original Song. (I'm sure all of you can think of one or two Best Song winners over the years that you just shook your head at)

The musical/comedy "One Night of Love" received the most nominations with 6 and it won two, Best Musical Score and Best Sound Recording.

This would be the first year that both leads won the Best Actor/Actress Oscar with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable winning for "It Happened One Night". This would be one of three career nominations for Clark and his only Oscar win. Claudette also broke records for starring in three Best Picture nominees with "It Happened One Night", Imitation of Life" and "Cleopatra" that year. I don't think anyone would dispute her Academy Award win. (well, perhaps Bette)

Walt Disney would pick up his third consecutive Oscar in the Short Subject: Cartoon category for "The Tortoise and the Hare" 

Shirley Temple, at the age of five at the time of the ceremony, received the first ever "Special/Juvenile" Oscar for her 'outstanding contribution to screen entertainment during 1934'. She was presented with a miniature version of Oscar.  Shirley appeared in 12 full length pictures during 1934, so you could say she was the hardest working person in pictures, not counting her downtime for naps and schooling of course.

The Best Picture category had a record 12 film nominees that year then in 1935 but it would then decrease to 10 then finally to five per year.

Thanks everyone for coming back for my Academy Award series as we approach the next Oscar season. Please enjoy the famous 'Hitchhiking Scene" from "It Happened One Night" and leave a comment about what you thought of the winners, losers and snubs for 1934.


  1. Wow. This is amazing history. Thank you for posting it. It is amazing that the Academy Awards have gone one for almost 80 years.

  2. Myrna Loy, brings amazing life into her character Nora Charles. It is hard to believe that she was Snubed.

  3. Great post! Informative, as always! Too bad they couldn't create a special Oscar category just for Lugosi and Karloff's performances in The Black Cat (Scariest Duo?).

  4. I don't know why the Academy couldn't bring back the Special Juvenile Oscars. Though today they probably wouldn't use the term "juvenile". At least some kind of recognition for outstanding performance by younger performers who hardly ever get nominated. What do you think?

  5. @Michael,
    Yes, the Oscars in all of their glory have been around for quite a bit. I even look forward to them every year and do my best to watch each nominated film, actor before it airs.
    Glad you stopped by and commented.

    I think Loy had the unfortunate bad break to film the first Thin Man in a tough year, up against Bette or Colbert would have been hard but she should have been nominated. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    That would have been awesome if even a special award would have been given to the dynamic duo of Karloff and Lugosi. It's a shame that The Black Cat wasn't nominated for anything.
    Good to see you back!

  6. Hi Tom!
    I think it would be a grand idea. Ever so often a child star (teen) will win but it must be difficult for all involved when they are up against celebrated and iconic adult stars for the big prize.

    Now that you brought it up, I can't think of any boys who have been nominated or won other than Jackie Cooper for Skippy way back in 1931. I think when Tatum O'Neal won for Paper Moon it certainly paved the way for future child stars.

    Thanks for your comment Tom, always good to see you here.

  7. Love this series, Page. It's a shame, but it isn't surprising that The Black Cat was snubbed. Horror movies and gangster movies were always snubbed in the classic era. The worst snub of that type was James Cagney for "White Heat." Brilliant performance, no Oscar. I think It Happened One Night was wonderful, but I also think it was too bad that the Thin Man movie had to be up against it. Good stuff, Page!

  8. Becky,
    Thank you! They certainly need more than 5 slots for Best Actor/Actress at times. I haven't seen Grace Moore's performance in "One Night of Love" but I guess it was better than Loy's (at least the Academy voters thought so) And don't even get me started on Shearer and her constant nominations!

    I'll agree with the Horror Genre and Gangster films not getting proper consideration.

    I always enjoy your comments~

  9. Great post!
    It Happened One Night is THE BEST, Claudette Colbert is so beautiful. Karloff and Lugosi are unforgettable.

    Good times!

  10. Hi Rubi!
    So glad you're enjoying my Academy Award series. It Happened One Night certainly is an iconic film with Gable and Colbert's chemistry shining through the screen.
    Thanks for commenting.

  11. Great series Page, and thought provoking. I loved Claudette Colbert but Bette Davis was electrifying in Of Human Bondage - her work for it at RKO is what got Warner's attention and offers of better roles. And what a classic The Black Cat is - what a year to choose "the Best" in.

    Christian (Silver Screen Modiste)

  12. Thanks Christian!
    I'm really having fun doing this series and looking forward to the Oscars, trying to think ahead and watch all performances, films I suspect will be nominated.

    I wonder if Claudette being in three Best Picture nominated films that year had anything to do with the Academy favoring her over Bette's performances? I recall a couple of actresses in recent years who starred in two nominated films which increased speculation that their wins were 'accumulative'. Just a thought!
    Glad you're enjoying the series. I always enjoy your feedback.