1940 Oscars 12th Academy Awards

1940 Oscars 12th Academy Awards

  • The 12th Academy Awards were held on February 29, 1940, at the Cocoanut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
  • This year’s Oscars were hosted by the iconic comedian Bob Hope.
  • Films released in the eligibility year of 1939 were the show’s stars.

Significant Moments:

  • Gone with the Wind dominated the awards, scooping up eight Oscars, including Best Picture.
  • Gone with the Wind earned 13 nominations.
  • The Wizard of Oz had six nominations, winning 2.
  • Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to receive an Academy Award, for her performance in Gone With The Wind.
  • Gone with the Wind is an American epic historical romance film, adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel of the same name.
  • Mr. Smith Goes To Washington had 11 nominations, winning one.
  • The role of Scarlett O’Hara earned Vivien Leigh a Best Actress Oscar.
  • Hattie McDaniel won Best Supporting Actress for her role in the same film, making history as the first African American to win an Oscar.

A Bit of Trivia:

  1. Gone with the Wind was the first color film to win Best Picture.
  2. Judy Garland received a Juvenile Award for her role in The Wizard of Oz, a not-so-regular category designed to honor younger performers.
  3. Bob Hope was hosting for the first time but would go on to host the Oscars a record 19 times.
  4. Take our 1940 Quiz!

1940 Oscar Nominees and Winners

Outstanding Production:
Gone With the Wind – David O. Selznick for Selznick International and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (WINNER)
Dark Victory – David Lewis for Warner Bros.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips – Victor Saville for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Love Affair – Leo McCarey for RKO Radio
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Frank Capra for Columbia
Ninotchka – Sidney Franklin for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Of Mice and Men – Lewis Milestone for Hal Roach Prod. and United Artists
Stagecoach – Walter Wanger for United Artists
The Wizard of Oz – Mervyn LeRoy for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Wuthering Heights – Samuel Goldwyn for Samuel Goldwyn Productions and United Artists
Best Director:
Victor Fleming – Gone With the Wind (WINNER)
Sam Wood – Goodbye, Mr. Chips
Frank Capra – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
John Ford – Stagecoach
William Wyler – Wuthering Heights
Best Actor:
Robert Donat – Goodbye, Mr. Chips as Mr Chips (WINNER)
Clark Gable – Gone With the Wind as Rhett Butler
Laurence Olivier – Wuthering Heights as Heathcliff
Mickey Rooney – Babes in Arms as Mickey Moran
James Stewart – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as Jefferson “Jeff” Smith
Best Actress:
Vivien Leigh – Gone With the Wind as Scarlett O’Hara (WINNER)
Bette Davis – Dark Victory as Judith Traherne
Irene Dunne – Love Affair as Terry McKay
Greta Garbo – Ninotchka as Nina Ivanovna ‘Ninotchka’ Yakushova
Greer Garson – Goodbye, Mr. Chips as Katherine
Best Supporting Actor:
Thomas Mitchell – Stagecoach as Doc Boone (WINNER)
Brian Aherne – Juarez as Maximilian I of Mexico
Harry Carey – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as President of the Senate
Brian Donlevy – Beau Geste as Sergeant Markoff
Claude Rains – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as Senator Joseph Harrison “Joe” Paine
Best Supporting Actress:
Hattie McDaniel – Gone With the Wind as Mammy (WINNER)
Olivia de Havilland – Gone with the Wind as Melanie Hamilton
Geraldine Fitzgerald – Wuthering Heights as Isabella Linton
Edna May Oliver – Drums Along the Mohawk as Mrs McKlennar
Maria Ouspenskaya – Love Affair as Grandmother Janou
Best Story:
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Lewis R. Foster (WINNER)
Bachelor Mother – Felix Jackson
Love Affair – Mildred Cram and Leo McCarey
Ninotchka – Melchior Lengyel
Young Mr. Lincoln – Lamar Trotti
Best Screenplay:
Gone With the Wind – Sidney Howard (posthumous award), based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell (WINNER)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips – Eric Maschwitz, R. C. Sherriff and Claudine West, based on the novel by James Hilton
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Sidney Buchman, based on a story by Lewis R. Foster
Ninotchka – Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch, and Billy Wilder, based on a story by Melchior Lengyel
Wuthering Heights – Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, based on the novel by Emily Brontë
Best Live Action Short Film, One-Reel:
Busy Little Bears – Paramount Pictures (WINNER)
Information Please – RKO Radio
Prophet Without Honor – MGM
Sword Fishing – Warner Bros.
Best Live Action Short Film, Two-Reel:
Sons of Liberty – Warner Bros. (WINNER)
Drunk Driving – MGM
Five Times Five – RKO Radio
Best Animated Short Film:
The Ugly Duckling – Walt Disney Productions and RKO Radio (WINNER)
Detouring America – Warner Bros.
Peace on Earth – MGM
The Pointer – Walt Disney Productions and RKO Radio
Best Score:
Stagecoach – Richard Hageman, W. Franke Harling, John Leipold and Leo Shuken (WINNER)
Babes in Arms – Roger Edens and Georgie Stoll
First Love – Charles Previn
The Great Victor Herbert – Phil Boutelje and Arthur Lange
The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Alfred Newman
Intermezzo – Lou Forbes
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Dimitri Tiomkin
Of Mice and Men – Aaron Copland
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex – Erich Wolfgang Korngold
She Married a Cop – Cy Feuer
Swanee River – Louis Silvers
They Shall Have Music – Alfred Newman
Way Down South – Victor Young
Best Original Score:
The Wizard of Oz – Herbert Stothart (WINNER)
Dark Victory – Max Steiner
Eternally Yours – Werner Janssen
Golden Boy – Victor Young
Gone With the Wind – Max Steiner
Gulliver’s Travels – Victor Young
The Man in the Iron Mask – Lud Gluskin and Lucien Moraweck
Man of Conquest – Victor Young
Nurse Edith Cavell – Anthony Collins
Of Mice and Men – Aaron Copland
The Rains Came – Alfred Newman
Wuthering Heights – Alfred Newman
Best Song:
“Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz – Music by Harold Arlen; Lyrics by Yip Harburg (WINNER)
“Faithful Forever” from Gulliver’s Travels – Music by Ralph Rainger; Lyrics by Leo Robin
“I Poured My Heart Into a Song” from Second Fiddle – Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin
“Wishing” from Love Affair – Music and Lyrics by Buddy DeSylva
Best Sound Recording:
When Tomorrow Comes – Bernard B. Brown (WINNER)
Balalaika – Douglas Shearer
Gone With the Wind – Thomas T. Moulton
Goodbye, Mr. Chips – A. W. Watkins
The Great Victor Herbert – Loren L. Ryder
The Hunchback of Notre Dame – John O. Aalberg
Man of Conquest – Charles L. Lootens
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – John P. Livadary
Of Mice and Men – Elmer Raguse
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex – Nathan Levinson
The Rains Came – Edmund H. Hansen
Best Art Direction:
Gone With the Wind – Lyle R. Wheeler (WINNER)
Beau Geste – Hans Dreier and Robert Odell
Captain Fury – Charles D. Hall
First Love – Jack Otterson and Martin Obzina
Love Affair – Van Nest Polglase and Alfred Herman
Man of Conquest – John Victor Mackay
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Lionel Banks
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex – Anton Grot
The Rains Came – William S. Darling and George Dudley
Stagecoach – Alexander Toluboff
The Wizard of Oz – Cedric Gibbons and William A. Horning
Wuthering Heights – James Basevi
Best Cinematography, Black and White:
Wuthering Heights – Gregg Toland (WINNER)
First Love – Joseph Valentine
The Great Victor Herbert – Victor Milner
Gunga Din – Joseph H. August
Juarez – Tony Gaudio
Intermezzo – Gregg Toland
Lady of the Tropics – Norbert Brodine
Of Mice and Men – George J. Folsey
Only Angels Have Wings – Joseph Walker
The Rains Came – Arthur Charles Miller
Stagecoach – Bert Glennon
Best Cinematography, Color:
Gone With the Wind – Ernest Haller and Ray Rennahan (WINNER)
Drums Along the Mohawk – Ray Rennahan and Bert Glennon
The Four Feathers – Georges Périnal and Osmond Borradaile
The Mikado – William V. Skall and Bernard Knowles
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex – Sol Polito and W. Howard Greene
The Wizard of Oz – Hal Rosson
Best Film Editing:
Gone With the Wind – Hal C. Kern and James E. Newcom (WINNER)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips – Charles Frend
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Gene Havlick and Al Clark
The Rains Came – Barbara McLean
Stagecoach – Otho Lovering and Dorothy Spencer
Best Special Effects:
The Rains Came – E. H. Hansen and Fred Sersen (WINNER)
Gone With the Wind – John R. Cosgrove, Fred Albin and Arthur Johns
Only Angels Have Wings – Roy Davidson and Edwin C. Hahn
The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex – Byron Haskin and Nathan Levinson
Topper Takes a Trip – Roy Seawright
Union Pacific – Farciot Edouart, Gordon Jennings and Loren L. Ryder
The Wizard of Oz – A. Arnold Gillespie and Douglas Shearer
Academy Honorary Awards

Douglas Fairbanks “recognizing the unique and outstanding contribution of Douglas Fairbanks, first President of the Academy, to the international development of the motion picture.”

Motion Picture Relief Fund “acknowledging the outstanding services to the industry during the past year of the Motion Picture Relief Fund and its progressive leadership.” Presented to Jean Hersholt, President; Ralph Morgan, Chairman of the Executive Committee; Ralph Block, First Vice-President; and Conrad Nagel.

William Cameron Menzies “for outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood in the production of Gone with the Wind.”

The Technicolor Company “for its contributions in successfully bringing three-color feature production to the screen.”

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award:
The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award was presented to David O. Selznick.
Academy Juvenile Award:
The Academy Juvenile Award was presented to Judy Garland for The Wizard of Oz.
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