Who Should Have Won the Best Actress Oscar for 1934?

Claudette Colbert won for It Happened One Night, a rare victory for an actress in a comedy:

Gable ithapponepm poster.jpg

She beat out Norma Shearer, who played Elizabeth Barrett Browning quite well in The Barretts of Wimpole Street:

The final official nominee was for a now forgotten opera singer turned actress, Grace Moore, in One Night of Love:


The first famous (or infamous) Oscar snub came when Bette Davis was left out of the running by the Academy for her groundbreaking (if dated) performance as a Cockney tart in Of Human Bondage:

Davis seems to have actually managed to reach third place due to an intensive write-in vote, but Jack Warner reportedly blocked her from receiving even that recognition, due to his anger over her demanding the role so insistently in the first place.

Also omitted: Myrna Loy for her career-changing role in The Thin Man as wisecracking, smart, stubborn Nora Charles:

Finally, although she is now forgotten, African-American actress Louise Beavers should have been nominated for her complex performance in the original Imitation of Life (a far better, more nuanced version than the more famous Lana Turner-Douglas Sirk remake):

Imitation of Life poster2.jpg

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 voted for Claudette Colbert in “It Happened One Night.” She was helped by her great work in “Imitation of Life” and “Cleopatra”–what a range of roles in one year: funny, serious, and sassy! Davis is my favorite actress of all time, but in “Of Human Bondage” she plays every moment at full throttle, even when she shouldn’t. She later became a much more subtle actress. BTW, I absolutely agree about the 1934 version of “Imitation” and the outstanding work by Louse Beavers. If they had been giving an Oscar for best supporting actress that year, she would have gotten my vote.

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