1932-33 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®
There was no awards ceremony in 1933. The 1932/33 Academy Awards were presented on March 16, 1934 and covered a full 17 months period (August 1932 - December 1933). 1932-33 was the last year that eligibility for Oscar nominees ran for films released from August thru July (actually December this time) - to allow the next ceremony to cover films for a single calendar year. The Academy had finally decided to match the eligibility period to the calendar year, beginning in the next year, 1934. (From then on, the nominating selections and the award ceremony would cover the same calendar year.)
For just a few years - for films in the years 1933-1937, awards were given for Best Assistant Director. This year, there were seven winners and an additional eleven nominees!
Remarkably, the Best Picture and Director winner were for the same film - Fox's and director Frank Lloyd's over-produced Cavalcade - a portent of other British costume drama award-winners in future years. The oft-forgotten Fox film, based on Noel Coward's dramatic stage play (adapted by Reginald Berkeley), was honored with four nominations and three wins - Best Picture, Best Director, and Art Direction/Decoration.
The sweeping, episodic film, spanning over thirty years, featured an all-British cast (including Clive Brooks, Diana Wynyard, and young Frank Lawton) and traced the lives of the British upper-class Marryot turn-of-the-century family, from an 1899 New Year's Eve celebration around the time of the Boer War and the death of Queen Victoria through the sinking of the Titanic, World War I, the 1920s, the Depression, and up to a second New Year's Eve celebration in 1932. The effects of good and bad times and world events on the family's lives were chronicled (wartime, the death of the Queen, the husband's knighthood, the loss of one son on the Titanic and another in the Great War). [Lloyd would be the director for 1935's Best Picture winner, Mutiny on the Bounty although he lost for Best Director.]
Director Lloyd won his second Best Director award over only two other competing directors:
[Frank Capra embarrassed himself during the awards ceremony - he rushed to the stage thinking he had won Best Director for Lady For a Day when master of ceremonies Will Rogers announced vaguely: "Come up and get it, Frank!" When things were clarified, the award was for Frank Lloyd instead of Frank Capra.]
Many of the nine contenders for Best Picture were better pictures and much more enduring films than Cavalcade (it received only three Oscars from its four nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Art Direction for William S. Darling), so the competition was stiff from the other nine nominees:
Charles Laughton (with his first nomination) won the Best Actor Award for Alexander Korda's British picture The Private Life of Henry VIII. [Laughton was the first British actor/performer in a foreign/British film to win an acting Academy Award.] He portrayed the notorious, corpulent and autocratic Tudor king as a flamboyant, loud and lusty character with despicable table manners - belching while eating capon. The monarch was noted for his six marriages and wives - Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn (Merle Oberon), Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves (portrayed by Laughton's real-life wife Elsa Lanchester), Catherine Howard, and Katherine Parr. [Throughout awards history, more Oscar nominations have been given for the character of sixteenth-century King Henry VIII (1491-1547) than any other historical/literary figure. Robert Shaw was nominated for playing Henry VIII in A Man for All Seasons (1966), and Richard Burton was nominated for the same character role in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969).]
The other two Best Actor nominees were:
Young and thin 24 year-old Katharine Hepburn's third screen role was rewarded, unpopularly at the time, with her first Academy Award as Best Actress in director Lowell Sherman's Morning Glory, based on a Zoe Akins play. She co-starred as Eva Lovelace, a stage-struck, naive aspiring young socialite and understudy actress from Vermont aided in her career by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and tough producer Adolphe Menjou. [The award launched Hepburn's career, but it would be more than 30 years before she would win her next Oscar for Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) - in between, she was nominated and lost for eight other films, including her masterful roles in The Philadelphia Story (1940) and The African Queen (1951).]
The other two Best Actress nominees were:
Walt Disney again won an award (his second consecutive honor in this category) for his Technicolor Short Subject: Cartoon, The Three Little Pigs. Its optimistic hit theme song: "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?" (based upon the tune of Happy Birthday) became a Depression-era anthem. It was one of the earliest films displaying 'personality animation' - each of the three pigs had a distinctive personality. During his acceptance speech, he referred to the statuette as "Oscar" - and was the first winner to publicly acknowledge the award's pet name (although the Academy didn't officially adopt the nickname until 1939).
Oscar Snubs and Omissions:
Alexander Korda, director of Best Actor-winning The Private Life of Henry VIII was not nominated.
Many actresses and actors were neglected this year:
There were many all-time classic films that went unnominated in many categories this time around:
Due to the fact that the category of Special Visual Effects hadn't been introduced yet, and it was released by the minor RKO film studio, the adventure/horror film from co-directors Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack - King Kong, also failed to win any nominations!