1938 Oscars 10th Academy Awards

1938 Oscars 10th Academy Awards

Winners Announced: March 10, 1938
Held at: Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California
Host: Bob Burns
Eligibility Year: 1937
  • The 10th Academy Awards ceremony took place on March 10, 1938, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
  • Comedian and musician Bob Burns played host, entertaining attendees with his signature homespun humor.
  • To be in the running, films had to be released in 1937.

Noteworthy Moments:

  • The 10th Academy Awards were originally scheduled for March 3, 1938, but due to the Los Angeles flood of 1938.
  • The Life of Emile Zola received 10 nominations
  • Lost Horizon and A Star Is Born each received 7 nominations.
  • Reel: The standard length of a 35 mm film reel is 1,000 feet (305 m), which runs approximately 11 minutes for sound film (24 frames per second) and about 15 minutes for silent film at the speed of 16 frames per second.
  • A Day At The Races was the only nomination for any Marx Brothers film (Art Direction)The Life of Emile Zola took home the Best Picture award, a biographical film about the French writer and journalist.
  • Spencer Tracy secured the Best Actor accolade for his role in Captains Courageous.
  • Luise Rainer received the Best Actress Oscar for The Good Earth, making her the first performer to win back-to-back Oscars.
  • As the 10th edition of the awards, this year had an aura of celebration about it, marking a decade of the Academy Awards honoring cinematic excellence. It’s a milestone that showcased the Oscars as an institution that had come of age.


  1. Rainer’s back-to-back wins set a precedent that wouldn’t be followed until Katharine Hepburn achieved the same feat decades later.
  2. The Life of Emile Zola was the first Best Picture winner to receive ten nominations, a new high at the time.
  3. Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs received an honorary award accompanied by seven miniature Oscar statuettes, acknowledging its pioneering role in the film industry.
  4. Mack Gordon and Harry Revel’s song “Remember Me” from Mr. Dodd Takes the Air was the first to be performed live at an Oscars ceremony, beginning a tradition.

1938 Oscar Nominees and Winners

Outstanding Production:
The Life of Emile Zola – Henry Blanke for Warner Bros. (WINNER)
The Awful Truth – Leo McCarey and Everett Riskin for Columbia
Captains Courageous – Louis D. Lighton for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Dead End – Samuel Goldwyn and Merritt Hulbert for Samuel Goldwyn Prod. and United Artists
The Good Earth – Irving Thalberg and Albert Lewin for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
In Old Chicago – Darryl F. Zanuck and Kenneth Macgowan for 20th Century Fox
Lost Horizon – Frank Capra for Columbia
One Hundred Men and a Girl – Charles R. Rogers and Joe Pasternak for Universal
Stage Door – Pandro S. Berman for RKO Radio
A Star Is Born – David O. Selznick for Selznick International and United Artists
Best Director:
Leo McCarey – The Awful Truth (WINNER)
Sidney Franklin – The Good Earth
William Dieterle – The Life of Emile Zola
Gregory La Cava – Stage Door
William Wellman – A Star Is Born
Best Actor:
Spencer Tracy – Captains Courageous as Manuel Fidello (WINNER)
Charles Boyer – Conquest as Napoleon Bonaparte
Fredric March – A Star Is Born as Norman Maine
Robert Montgomery – Night Must Fall as Danny
Paul Muni – The Life of Emile Zola as Émile Zola
Best Actress:
Luise Rainer – The Good Earth as O-Lan (WINNER)
Irene Dunne – The Awful Truth as Lucy Warriner
Greta Garbo – Camille as Marguerite Gautier
Janet Gaynor – A Star Is Born as Esther Blodgett/Vicki Lester
Barbara Stanwyck – Stella Dallas as Stella Dallas
Best Supporting Actor:
Joseph Schildkraut – The Life of Emile Zola as Alfred Dreyfus (WINNER)
Ralph Bellamy – The Awful Truth as Dan Leeson
Thomas Mitchell – The Hurricane as Dr. Kersaint
H. B. Warner – Lost Horizon as Chang
Roland Young – Topper as Cosmo Topper
Best Supporting Actress:
Alice Brady – In Old Chicago as Molly O’Leary (WINNER)
Andrea Leeds – Stage Door as Kay Hamilton
Anne Shirley – Stella Dallas as Laurel Dallas
Claire Trevor – Dead End as Francey
May Whitty – Night Must Fall as Mrs. Bramson
Best Original Story:
A Star Is Born – William A. Wellman and Robert Carson (WINNER)
Black Legion – Robert Lord
In Old Chicago – Niven Busch
The Life of Emile Zola – Heinz Herald and Geza Herczeg
One Hundred Men and a Girl – Hanns Kräly
Best Adaptation:
The Life of Emile Zola – Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg, and Norman Reilly Raine, based on Zola and His Time by Matthew Josephson (WINNER)
The Awful Truth – Viña Delmar, based on the play by Arthur Richman
Captains Courageous – John Lee Mahin, Marc Connelly, and Dale Van Every, based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling
Stage Door – Morris Ryskind and Anthony Veiller, based on the play by Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman
A Star Is Born – Alan Campbell, Robert Carson, and Dorothy Parker, based on a story by William A. Wellman and Robert Carson
Best Live Action Short Subject, One-Reel:
The Private Life of the Gannets – Skibo Productions and Educational (WINNER)
A Night at the Movies – MGM
Romance of Radium – Pete Smith and MGM
Best Live Action Short Subject, Two-Reel:
Torture Money – MGM (WINNER)
Deep South – RKO Radio
Should Wives Work? – RKO Radio
Best Live Action Short Subject, Color:
Penny Wisdom – Pete Smith and MGM (WINNER)
The Man Without a Country – Warner Bros.
Popular Science J-7-1 – Paramount
Best Short Subject, Cartoon:
The Old Mill – Walt Disney Productions and RKO Radio (WINNER)
Educated Fish – Paramount
The Little Match Girl – Charles Mintz and Columbia
Best Scoring:
One Hundred Men and a Girl – Universal Studio Music Department (WINNER)
The Hurricane – Goldwyn Studio Music Department
In Old Chicago – 20th Century Fox Studio Music Department
The Life of Emile Zola – Warner Bros. Studio Music Department
Lost Horizon – Columbia Studio Music Department
Make a Wish – Principal Productions
Maytime – MGM Studio Music Department
Portia on Trial – Republic Studio Music Department
The Prisoner of Zenda – Selznick International Pictures Music Department
Quality Street – RKO Radio Studio Music Department
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Walt Disney Studio Music Department
Something to Sing About – Grand National Studio Music Department
Souls at Sea – Paramount Studio Music Department
Way Out West – Hal Roach Studio Music Department
Best Song:
“Sweet Leilani” from Waikiki Wedding – Music and Lyrics by Harry Owens (WINNER)
“Remember Me” from Mr. Dodd Takes the Air – Music by Harry Warren; Lyrics by Al Dubin
“That Old Feeling” from Walter Wanger’s Vogues of 1938 – Music by Sammy Fain; Lyrics by Lew Brown
“They Can’t Take That Away From Me” from Shall We Dance – Music by George Gershwin (posthumous nomination); Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
“Whispers in the Dark” from Artists and Models – Music by Frederick Hollander; Lyrics by Leo Robin
Best Sound Recording:
The Hurricane – Thomas T. Moulton (WINNER)
The Girl Said No – A. E. Kaye
Hitting a New High – John Aalberg
In Old Chicago – E. H. Hansen
The Life of Emile Zola – Nathan Levinson
Lost Horizon – John P. Livadary
Maytime – Douglas Shearer
One Hundred Men and a Girl – Homer G. Tasker
Topper – Elmer A. Raguse
Wells Fargo – Loren L. Ryder
Best Art Direction:
Lost Horizon – Stephen Goosson (WINNER)
Conquest – Cedric Gibbons and William A. Horning
A Damsel in Distress – Carroll Clark
Dead End – Richard Day
Every Day’s a Holiday – Wiard Ihnen
The Life of Emile Zola – Anton Grot
Manhattan Merry-Go-Round – John Victor Mackay
The Prisoner of Zenda – Lyle R. Wheeler
Souls at Sea – Hans Dreier and Roland Anderson
Walter Wanger’s Vogues of 1938 – Alexander Toluboff
Wee Willie Winkie – William S. Darling and David S. Hall
You’re a Sweetheart – Jack Otterson
Best Cinematography:
The Good Earth – Karl Freund (WINNER)
Dead End – Gregg Toland
Wings over Honolulu – Joseph Valentine
Best Film Editing:
Lost Horizon – Gene Havlick and Gene Milford (WINNER)
The Awful Truth – Al Clark
Captains Courageous – Elmo Veron
The Good Earth – Basil Wrangell
One Hundred Men and a Girl – Bernard W. Burton
Best Dance Direction:
A Damsel in Distress – Hermes Pan (WINNER)
Ali Baba Goes to Town – Sammy Lee
A Day at the Races – Dave Gould
Ready, Willing and Able – Bobby Connolly
Thin Ice – Harry Losee
Varsity Show – Busby Berkeley
Waikiki Wedding – LeRoy Prinz
Best Assistant Director:
In Old Chicago – Robert Webb (WINNER)
Lost Horizon – C. C. Coleman Jr.
The Life of Emile Zola – Russ Saunders
Souls at Sea – Hal Walker
A Star Is Born – Eric G. Stacey
Academy Honorary Awards:
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, the Academy presents a Special Award to that master of fun, discoverer of stars, sympathetic, kindly, understanding comedy genius – Mack Sennett.”
Edgar Bergen “for his outstanding comedy creation, ‘Charlie McCarthy’.”
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.”
W. Howard Greene “for the color photography of A Star Is Born.”
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award:
Darryl F. Zanuck
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