A Star Is Born – Camille – The Life of Émile Zola – Stage Door – The Good Earth – The Awful Truth – In Old Chicago

1937: World Premieres
1937: Still Left to See
1937: Oscar's Ballot

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The Movies of 1937: My Take on Oscar's Ballot
= My Favorite Nominee   /   = Oscar's Winner, if Different  

Best Picture
The Awful Truth - Any screwball comedy in Best Picture counts as a win
Captains Courageous - Surprisingly rich, considering dubious foundations
Dead End - Tough and expansive vision, deep-focus photography, punchy impact
The Good Earth - Some very impressive spectacles but too many hoary devices
In Old Chicago - Film exists to come down in flames, which it does, memorably
The Life of Émile Zola - Alas—the stodgiest, least memorably directed film won
Lost Horizon - Many odd missteps and outdated types but a serious, fascinating text
One Hundred Men and a Girl - A fun Hollywood cuddle with classical music
Stage Door - Charming, moving, democratically distributed, till its wobbly last act
A Star Is Born - The '54 version is many people's favorite, but this is fabulous

Best Director
William Dieterle, The Life of Émile Zola - At least Oscar voters refrained here
Sidney Franklin, The Good Earth - No great cineaste, but handles set-pieces well
Gregory La Cava, Stage Door - Beautifully negotiates large cast, dynamic tableaus
Leo McCarey, The Awful Truth - Loose, with odd rhythms, all by comic design
William Wellman, A Star Is Born - A reliable Hollywood pro hit an apex here

Best Actress
Irene Dunne, The Awful Truth - Her best comic showcase, affectations and all
Greta Garbo, Camille - Did anyone ever play high-romantic drama better than this?
Janet Gaynor, A Star Is Born - A delicious comeback, playing a rising star
Luise Rainer, The Good Earth - Nutso casting, but Rainer acts with sensitivity
Barbara Stanwyck, Stella Dallas - Deftly plays coarseness without slipping into it

Best Actor
Charles Boyer, Conquest - Has charisma and magnificent dyspepsia as Napoleon
Fredric March, A Star Is Born - Versatile leading man nails all sides of risky role
Robert Montgomery, Night Must Fall - Muted turn as serial killer grew on me
Paul Muni, The Life of Émile Zola - I've seen Muni hammier, but he's still fussy
Spencer Tracy, Captains Courageous - Cast worse than Rainer, but resourceful

Best Supporting Actress
Alice Brady, In Old Chicago - Fizzy comedienne wins as a melancholy mom
Andrea Leeds, Stage Door - Several touching moments; sometimes a tad maudlin
Anne Shirley, Stella Dallas - Fulfills her task, but hard to recall next to Stanwyck
Claire Trevor, Dead End - Etches a bruised, tough Trevor type in mere minutes
May Whitty, Night Must Fall - Solid work by acting titan who can handle more

Best Supporting Actor
Ralph Bellamy, The Awful Truth - Perfects his typecasting, serving the greats
Thomas Mitchell, The Hurricane - More good work from a dependable presence
Joseph Schildkraut, The Life of Émile Zola - Most poignant thing in the movie
H.B. Warner, Lost Horizon - Fine, but more yellowface in an Oscar year full of it
Roland Young, Topper - Not really a supporting role, but sweet, funny, adroit