The 11th annual Academy Awards were held on this day in 1939, and its Wiki is surprisingly juicy. Some good tidbits:
1. It was the first Oscars without a host.
2. “George Bernard Shaw’s screenplay win for Pygmalion made him the first—and, for over 60 years, only—person to win both a Nobel Prize and an Academy Award until Bob Dylan received Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016 after having won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2001.” I do not see that Shaw attended said Oscars.
3. “Radio coverage was banned at the ceremony. A reporter, George Fischer from Los Angeles’ Mutual Radio Network station, KHJ, which had been reporting from the Academy Awards since 1930, locked himself in a booth and was able to broadcast for about 12 minutes before security guards broke down the door. Partial radio coverage was permitted again beginning with the 1942 ceremony.” Um, this sounds juicy and dramatic!!! (“What about TV?” I thought, then remembered it didn’t exist yet.) Is this so that the celebs felt free to…I don’t know, dramatically pronounce things they wouldn’t want to say publicly? Surely the ceremony was full of folks who would have sold them out to the gossip columnists if they did. I recapped Feud!
Our big winners were (as pictured) Spencer Tracy for Boys Town (which I haven’t seen; I feel like I spend every Spencer Tracy movie thinking, “I cannot believe Katharine Hepburn was so obsessed with this man.”); Fay Bainter for Jezebel (Fay, with whom I am not at all familiar, was also nominated for Best Actress this same year); total Hey! It’s That Guy Walter Brennan, whose Wiki gave me a migraine and which also taught me that he was A TOTAL FULL-ON ASSHOLE, and whose Oscar wins also lead to the Extras Union being banned from Oscar voting; and, finally, Bette here in her INSANE STABBY FEATHERED BODICE for Jezebel, which I also haven’t seen but am familiar with because I know a lot about Gone With The Wind and Bette Davis really wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara but her turn in Jezebel was dubbed too similar (and also, let’s be real, no offense Bette, she was too old and, crucially, looked too old for that part). Fun fact: Bette was involved with Jezebel director William Wyler at this point and apparently was, like, EXTREMELY HAPPY during this period of her life, even though he married someone else that exact same year.
BETTE. You’re gonna take Spencer’s eye out with those feathers if you’re not careful!