12th Annual Academy Awards hosted by Bob Hope on February 29, 1940
Best Picture: Gone with the Wind
Avatar may be the highest-grossing movie of all time in sheer dollars, but bread also used to cost a nickel. When you adjust for inflation, Avatar drops to No. 14, and the new No. 1 becomes Gone With the Wind. Historians estimate more eyeballs have seen David O. Selznick’s epic than any other movie in history, which explains why Rhett & Scarlett have become classic lovers and why lines like “Tomorrow is another day” and “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” have become part of our vocabulary.
Victor Fleming (Gone With the Wind) Jean Renoir (The Rules of the Game)
Citizen Kane was the peak of film art, but many of its techniques came from Jean Renoir’s The Rules of The Game, which pioneered deep-focus photography, complex camera choreography and long single-takes.
Robert Donat (Goodbye Mr. Chips) Charles Laughton (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Vivien Leigh (Gone With the Wind) Judy Garland (The Wizard of Oz)
Judy Garland never won an Oscar, except for an honorary “Juvenile Award” in 1939. Time to give her the real statue, as her innocent Dorothy Gale has captured the hearts of the young and the young at heart for decades, teaching us “there’s no place like home,” warning us “we’re not in Kansas anymore” and turning “Over the Rainbow” into the greatest song in movie history.
Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Mitchell (Stagecoach / Gone w/ the Wind / Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Best Supporting Actress:
Hattie McDaniel (Gone With the Wind) Margaret Hamilton (Wizard of Oz)
Best Original Screenplay: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Sidney Buchman & Lewis Foster)
Best Adapted Screenplay:
Gone With the Wind (Sidney Howard from a book by Margaret Mitchell) Wuthering Heights (Charles MacArthur & Ben Hecht from a book by Emily Bronte)