Who Should Have Won the Best Actor Oscar for 1939?

If there’s one year of the Oscars everybody remembers, it’s 1939. And if there’s one snub for an actor, almost everybody says “Clark Gable for Gone with the Wind” because Robert Donat managed to snag the Oscar for Goodbye Mr. Chips.

In fact, Gable was not the one snubbed — it was Jimmy Stewart for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Gable stole enough of his votes away to let Donat slip in.

So frankly Scarlett, do you give a damn?

Again, here’s the winner:

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939 film) poster.jpg

And here’s Rhett Butler:

A film poster showing a man and a woman in a passionate embrace.

Laurence Olivier was also in the running, as Heathcliff for Wuthering Heights:


The one official nominee that always seems to surprise people is Mickey Rooney for Babes in Arms:

And finally, as mentioned, the Senator:

Smith goes.jpg

Given this is 1939, here are some other great actors who could have easily been nominated as well:

Two of them are from the same movie: Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney, Jr, Of Mice and Men.

Mice men movieposter.jpg

Henry Fonda had one of his best performances in Young Mr. Lincoln:


Finally, in a performance that may be his career best, I offer Charles Laughton as The Hunchback of Notre Dame:


If you would like to make other suggestions, please do so below in the comments!

As always, I have much more to say in my book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OPEELH0

And now please vote!


  1. I really love Donat’s Chipping and think that “Mr. Chips” is his probably his best work., but it was not the best performance by the actors listed above. I give it to “Mr. Smith”.

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