Friday, September 12, 2014

1940 CinSpec Awards

This year has a few great films, and the acting categories feature many great performances. It feels like a letdown after 1939, though. I've been almost completely inactive on the blog this week, but I did manage to make images for all of the categories. Note: You can click on the images to enlarge them.

I still need to see films like Night Train to Munich, Dance, Girl, Dance, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, The Stars Look Down, Christmas in July, Boom Town, Sun Valley Serenade, Northwest Passage, Contraband, June Nights, Go West, Edison, the Man, and The Invisible Man Returns.


  1. What a perplexing year. There were many deserving performances but with the exception of Jane Darwell none of the winners.

    Foreign Correspondent
    His Girl Friday
    The Grapes of Wrath
    The Letter
    The Shop Around the Corner-Winner
    The rapid fire Friday, tense Correspondent, plaintive Wrath and moody Letter are all classic but I prefer the gentle truths of Shop Around the Corner to them all.
    Honorable Mention: Gaslight, The Great Dictator, The Mark of Zorro, The Philadelphia Story, Remember the Night, The Stars Look Down

    John Ford-The Grapes of Wrath
    Howard Hawks-His Girl Friday-Winner
    Alfred Hitchcock-Foreign Correspondent
    Ernst Lubitsch-The Shop Around the Corner
    William Wyler-The Letter
    All the directors bring out the best in their material but for maintaining the breakneck speed of Girl Friday without it degenerating into chaos Hawks deserves the prize.
    Honorable Mention: Charles Chaplin-The Great Dictator, George Cukor-The Philadelphia Story, Rouben Mamoulian-The Mark of Zorro

    Henry Fonda-The Grapes of Wrath-Winner
    Cary Grant-His Girl Friday
    Joel McCrea-Foreign Correspondent
    James Stewart-The Shop Around the Corner
    Anton Walbrook-Gaslight
    If Stewart was going to be awarded a consolation Oscar for Mr. Smith why couldn't they at least have given it to him for the right performance? What a great year Cary Grant had, three great pieces of work and yet not a single nomination! Even as good as both were it's Fonda's performance in Wrath that's the clear winner.
    Honorable Mention: Charles Chaplin-The Great Dictator, Cary Grant-My Favorite Wife & The Philadelphia Story, Tyrone Power-The Mark of Zorro, Edward G. Robinson-Brother Orchid, Spencer Tracy-Edison, the Man

    Bette Davis-The Letter
    Vivien Leigh-Waterloo Bridge
    Rosalind Russell-His Girl Friday-Winner
    Norma Shearer-Escape
    Margaret Sullavan-The Shop Around the Corner
    This was the toughest category for me to chose a winner. No offense to Ginger Rogers a gifted actress who gave some award worthy perfomances in her day but Kitty Foyle wasn't one of them. There were at least a dozen worthier ones. Leigh's work in her favorite of her films is an achingly delicate creation. Shearer's Countess in Escape who finds herself trapped in a situation beyond her control is one of her more finely observed performances. Bette's outwardly kind, inwardly vicious Leslie is fascinating but it was Russell and Sullavan who I had a hard time deciding between. Sullavan's Klara is an integral part of Shop's success and her finely judged work couldn't be better but Russell's seemingly accelerated performance of Hildy Johnson should by all rights be exhausting that it's exhilarating instead is due to Roz's unique gift with speedy patter. She should have won the actual award instead she went un-nominated! I just don't understand this year.
    Honorable Mention: Joan Crawford-Strange Cargo, Irene Dunne-My Favorite Wife, Joan Fontaine-Rebecca, Katharine Hepburn-The Philadelphia Story, Ann Sheridan-Torrid Zone, Ann Sothern-Brother Orchid, Barbara Stanwyck-Remember the Night, Margaret Sullavan-The Mortal Storm

    1. Nice to see The Shop Around the Corner and His Girl Friday share a split in Best Picture and Best Director. Those two films and The Philadelphia Story are in my top 100 films of all time.

      I like Foreign Correspondent, but I consider it one of Hitchcock's lesser films. Best Actress was VERY competitive this year, but Leigh wins by a mile. Davis just missed my lineup.

    2. It was one of the toughest best actress choices! On any given day Vivien, Maggie Sullavan or Roz Russell could be my winner. A three way tie is too much to give but all are so damn good.

      I've read that even Ginger Rogers was shocked that she won the prize this year, she should have been.

    3. Ha, throw in Hepburn, and I'd be happy with a four-way tie. Still, Leigh is easily my choice.

      Yeah, that win is shocking. I'm surprised Fontaine didn't win, especially given Rebecca's Best Picture win.

  2. Supporting Actor:
    Ralph Bellamy-His Girl Friday
    Ian Hunter-Strange Cargo
    Frank Morgan-The Shop Around the Corner-Winner
    James Stephenson-The Letter
    Robert Young-The Mortal Storm
    A third award for Brennan when there was so much quality work to choose from, really? Why!? Bellamy's classic snook aged to perfection, Hunter's ethereal escaped con, Stephenson conflicted attorney and Young's disturbing Hitler Youth are sensational creations but Morgan's cuckold is such a beautifully judged performance I can't believe it was ignored.
    Honorable Mention: Frank Morgan-The Mortal Storm, Jackie Oakie-The Great Dictator, Basil Rathbone-The Mark of Zorro, George Sanders-Foreign Correspondent, Joseph Schildkraut-The Shop Around the Corner, Conrad Veidt-Escape, Roland Young-The Philadelphia Story

    Supporting Actress:
    Judith Anderson-Rebecca-Winner
    Jane Darwell-The Grapes of Wrath
    Virginia Field-Waterloo Bridge
    Ida Lupino-They Drive by Night
    Gale Sondergaard-The Letter
    Sondergaard's almost wordless Mrs. Hammond seethes with evil intent. The Leigh/Taylor love story in Waterloo Bridge is so strong it should make all around it disappear into the woodwork, it's completely to Virginia Field's credit that her splendid Kitty doesn't. Lupino's rapidly unspooling Lana building to her courtroom crescendo steals They Drive by Night. Darwell's lovely Ma Joad is the only winning performance that I thought even deserved a nomination but she still wouldn't be my winner. Anderson's iconic Mrs. Danvers should have snapped this right up.
    Honorable Mention: Lucille Ball-Dance, Girl, Dance, Ruth Hussey-The Philadelphia Story, Gail Patrick-My Favorite Wife, Marjorie Rambeau-The Primrose Path, Anne Shirley-Vigil in the Night, Virginia Weidler-The Philadelphia Story

    1. I haven't seen Kentucky, but Brennan is much better in The Westerner than Come and Get It. He deserved to win in '40.

      I expected Lupino to win, but Anderson is terrific. Darwell's performance is a bit too much for me, but I can't say she's undeserving. Though, Carradine only just made my lineup, as I had several contenders for the fifth slot.

  3. I've still got a lot to see from that year. Love Grapes of Wrath.
    Glad you include WC Fields, I enjoy the films he's in, The Bank Dick is a fun comedy.
    Only The Great Dictator for screenplay? I'd probably have Chaplin in the best actor category.
    Vivian Leigh im my winner for best actress as well :)

    1. Oh, The Bank Dick was wonderful! It just missed my top 5, and Fields almost made my Best Actor lineup. Glad I could at least give him a win in Best Original Screenplay. :)

      Chaplin is very good, but I've rewarded him so many times. (He wins 10 CinSpec's just for City Lights and Modern Times!) Plus, I'd place The Great Dictator beneath most of his other films.

      Leigh is marvelous. I never expected to give her 3 wins (Gone with the Wind, Waterloo and Streetcar).

  4. Hi Josh, long time no *see* :) Well, since I just saw The Philadelphia Story, for sure I won't give the Best Actor award to Jimmy Stewart, he should've gotten it in Mr Smith Goes to Washington. Not sure I'd give it to Cary Grant either tho, I guess overall I wasn't all that impressed by the film.

    1. Hi Ruth! Haha, I've been so busy watching movies and getting these ready that my blogging has suffered. By the way, I'm going to stop by your blog and catch up soon. :)

      So glad you finally watched The Philadelphia Story, even if you didn't like it as much. Yeah, Stewart is better in The Shop Around the Corner, and Grant is better in His Girl Friday.

  5. Great work! I love Grant in His Girl Friday, definitely one of my favorite roles of his.

    1. Thanks man! That's probably my favorite Grant performance, but most of his work in screwball comedies is aces.

  6. Morgan! Grant! YAY!!

    But, where the @@#%&#$($%^*(#^@(! is Bette Davis?

    1. Haha, Davis is my #6. I just couldn't fit her in. It's as bad as leaving out Blanchett and Bullock last year. It stings, but she barely misses. :(