The Results are In!like
We gave you the chance to contest the very first Academy Awards from 1929! Would the intervening 84 years change anything? Well…
Emil Jannings still won Best Actor for The Last Laugh and The Way of All Flesh, although 23% of you thought that Richard Barthlemess deserved the prize for The Noose and The Patent Leather Kid. Really?
Janet Gaynor was nominated for three pictures (7th Heaven, Street Angel, Sunrise) and of course she won the Best Actress prize, but she had stiff competition in our modern poll from Gloria Swanson (Sadie Thompson) who got 30% of the vote. Louise Dresser (A Ship Comes In) came in a distant third with 13%.
You agreed with the Academy on Cinematography—Charles Rosher and Karl Struss won the 1929 contest and 93% of the modern vote for Sunrise. Likewise for Engineering Effects—93% of your votes went to Roy Pomeroy for Wings, the Academy winner.
The Writing awards were a mixed bag. You agreed with the Academy on the Adaption award—73% of you gave it to Benjamin Glazer for 7th Heaven (you voted 17% for Alfred Cohn for the Jazz Singer and 10% for Anthony Coldeway for Glorious Betsy.
72% voted for Ben Hecht in the Original Story category for Underworld (and he won in ’29), but you parted ways with the Academy on the Title Writing category. The 1929 prize went to Joseph Farnham for no specific film that year, but you gave the prize to George Marion, Jr for no specific title with 41% of the vote. Gerald Duff coming in second for The Private Life of Helen of Troy with 31% of the vote, and the actual winner came in 3rd!
You and the Academy agreed wholeheartedly by giving the Outstanding Picture to Wings (you voted 76% to 24% for 7th Heaven). And Sunrise won (as it did in ’29) the Unique and Artistic Picture prize with 63% or your vote to 37% for The Crowd.
Proving that the Directing prize is the most contentious, you, 2013 audience threw down the gauntlet and repudiated both of the Academy’s Directing awards. In 1929 the Academy gave the Best Directing (Comedy) award to Lewis Milestone for Two Arabian Knights. You said a resounding NO with 63% of your vote going to Ted Wilde for Speedy! And like modern times, in 1929 the Best Picture’s director wasn’t in the running for Best Director! The Best Directing (Dramatic) prize went to Frank Borzage for 7th Heaven in 1929, but in 2013 you voted for King Vidor for The Crowd. (Borzage received 20% of your vote against an overwhelming 80% for Vidor). And William Wellman and F.W. Murnau bowed graciously.
We thank you all for playing our game. We’re happy to announce our Special Prize winner, J. Bo of Vancouver, whose ballot was chosen at random, and who will receive a Gold Pass to our 18th San Francisco Silent Film Festival this July 18–21 at the Castro Theatre! Congratulations, J!