On this day in 1935, Frank Capra’s “It Happened One Night” sweeps the top categories at the seventh Academy Awards held in the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles. Winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay, it was the first such sweep and would not be repeated again until 1976’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
For the first time, the Academy standardized the practice defining the award eligibility period for a film as the preceding calendar year, causing the perennial “Oscar Dump” every Fall. This was also the first of only two years in which write-in candidates were allowed by the Academy as a tacit response to controversy surrounding the snub of pugnacious Bette Davis’ performance in “Of Human Bondage.” The categories of Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song were first introduced this year, with “One Night of Love” and “The Gay Divorcee” taking the last two prizes, respectively.
1935 was the last time that Best Actor were all first time nominees, as well as the last time until the 43rd Academy Awards where either leading acting category had all first time nominees. (Lead actress that year were all first timers for the only time since the 2nd Academy Awards). Shirley Temple received the first Juvenile Award at age six, making her the youngest Oscar recipient ever.
And as our silvery story endeth; who were your favorites this past Sunday?