Who Should Have Won the Best Actress Oscar for 1937?

Luise Rainer made Oscar history when she won the first back-to-back Oscars. When Alfred Hitchcock became frantic over his chances to win an Oscar in the early Forties, his wife Alma finally snapped, “for Chrissakes don’t take it so seriously. Just remember, this is the group that gave an Oscar to Luise Rainer. Twice!” I know just what she means — after all, how many Chinese peasants do you know with a German accent and flawless makeup? I do think much of the performance works, but not enough for the Oscar:

Good earth (1937).jpg

At least the Academy got most of the rest of the nominations they should have down, starting with Irene Dunne in her greatest role in The Awful Truth:


Garbo had her greatest dramatic performance in Camille, and was actually the audience favorite this year to win:

Camille 2.jpg

Janet Gaynor snuck in a late nomination for the original version of A Star Is Born:

A Star Is Born 1937 poster.jpg

Barbara Stanwyck rounded out the nominees for the supreme weepie tale of maternal sacrifice in Stella Dallas:


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. Has there ever been a finer year in American film for performances by actresses? In addition to the nominees, consider the following who didn’t get nominations: Jean Arthur, “Easy Living”; Carole Lombard, “Nothing Sacred”; Katharine Hepburn, “Stage Door”; Sylvia Sydney, “You Only Live Once” or “Dead End”; Bette Davis, “Marked Woman”; Beulah Bondi, so touching in Leo McCarey’s “Make Way for Tomorrow.”

  2. I can’t imagine a finer performance than Rainer’s that year, and I’ve seen all these films several time. My second choice would be Stanwyck, but I think the academy was dead on with this one.

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