November 2, 2014

Round-Up: Actor 1940

5. Laurence Olivier, Rebecca

4. Henry Fonda, The Grapes of Wrath

3. Raymond Massey, Abe Lincoln in Illinois 

2. James Stewart, The Philadelphia Story


IN CONCLUSION: an overall unbalanced year (at least for me), and one that seemed stronger on paper than it actually was when watched. In this case, there's Charlie Chaplin, who handily runs away with my win, and then there's everyone else. Olivier is definitely secure in his last place standing (he just flat-out impressed me the least), while numbers 2 to 4 are very close and open to be interchanged in the event of any future re-watches. While I liked them just about equally, I ended up ranking Stewart, Massey, and Fonda based on my initial impressions of how much I enjoyed their overall performances and how willing I'd be to watch their respective performances again. As for snubs, the biggest one that stands out would be Cary Grant for His Girl Friday. Given that he was also in The Philadelphia Story, one wonders why AMPAS took as long as they did to warm up to the guy. James Stewart also had The Shop Around the Corner, which I'm sure helped his case for his Best Actor win. There's also Joel McCrea in the other Best Picture nominated Hitchcock film Foreign Correspondent, and there's John Wayne in the other Best Picture nominated John Ford film The Long Voyage Home. And I've heard good things about W.C. Fields in The Bank Dick. But I guess the key takeaway from this year is that Spencer Tracy is the sum of all evil. If we took away his stupid Boys Town win and gave it to Robert Donat in The Citadel, we could then go on to give 1939's win to Stewart for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and then Fonda could have easily taken this year and avoided his 1981 make-up win for On Golden Pond (though realistically I think Chaplin is above and beyond what Fonda does in Grapes). So thanks for screwing up three years worth of wins Spencer Tracy! On to the next!


  1. For me, this year is all about Fonda but Chaplin is certainly a worthy alternative. :)

    1. What score do you personally give Fonda, Fritz? a 5?