Best Picture Nominees: 1936

King George V died this year. He succeeded by his son, Edward VIII, who soon abdicates to marry an American-born divorcée, and is succeeded by brother, George VI.

The Spanish civil war begins. Hundreds of Americans join the "Lincoln Brigades"--including Ernest Hemingway. War between China and Japan begins, to continue through World War II.

For more information about 1936, see The Learning Network's Fact Monster.


The Great Ziegfeld (Robert Z. Leonard)
Won Best Picture
The fictionalized account of show business impressario, Flo Ziegfeld (William Powell). At the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, sideshow barker Ziegfeld turns the tables on his more successful neighbor Billings (Frank Morgan), and steals his girlfriend to boot. This pattern is repeated throughout their lives, as Ziegfeld makes and loses many fortunes putting on ever bigger, more spectacular shows. French revue star Anna Held (Luise Rainer) becomes his first wife, but it's not easy being married to the man who "glorified the American girl." Later, he marries Billie Burke (Myrna Loy) and attempts a triumphant return. The film is filled with memorable cameos of the stars who actually appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies (Fanny Brice, Ray Bolger, Harriet Hoctor and others).

Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Frank Capra)
Nominated Best Picture
The heir of wealthy, deceased Martin Semple proves to be one Longfellow Deeds of Mandrake Falls, Vermont (Gary Cooper). The shady lawyers and businessmen find Deeds a simple-hearted greeting card poet, his favorite pastime playing the tuba. Deeds moves to the big city to take on the embezzlers, moochers, fundraisers and phonies that are after his new fortune. Brash reporter Babe Bennett (Jean Arthur) for a story gains Deeds' friendship and winds up falling in love with him.


Dodsworth (William Wyler)
Nominated Best Picture
Based on the novel by Sinclair Lewis, a businessman, Sam Dodsworth (Walter Huston) and wife (Ruth Chatterton) take an extended European holiday, during which Dodsworth discovers that his aging, frivolous wife is having an affair. He meets another woman (Mary Astor) who restores his faith and gives him a reason to live.

Libeled Lady (Jack Conway)
Nominated Best Picture
Warren Haggerty (Spencer Tracy) is the chief editor of the New York Evening Star. He keeps on delaying his marriage with Gladys (Jean Harlow) because of problems his newspapers must face. When the paper is sued by Connie Allenbury (Myrna Loy) for having printed she is a marriage-breaker, he organizes the unconsummated marriage of Gladys and Bill Chandler (William Powell) in order to try and catch Connie alone with a married man.

The Story of Louis Pasteur (William Dieterle)
Nominated Best Picture
The biography of famed chemist, Louis Pasteur (Paul Muni). In 1860, having helped France solve the problem of sour wine, Pasteur turns to the dangers of childbirth: 20,000 Paris women were dying annually. His germ theory and recommendation that doctors wash their hands and sterilize their instruments meet with derision in the academy, and the King himself orders Pasteur to be silent. Ten years later, needing cash to pay for war losses, the government finds that anthrax is killing herds everywhere in the country except Arbois. Pasteur is there, vaccinating sheep. Again the academy is dismissive. When Pasteur is vindicated, he turns his attention to hydrophobia. It is the Russians who realize his genius, and France finally honors him.

San Francisco (W.S. Van Dyke)
Nominated Best Picture
A drama set around the time of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Mary Blake (Jeanette MacDonald) arrives at Blackie Norton's Paradise gambling hall and beer garden looking for work as a singer. Blackie (Clark Gable) hires her and keeps her under a tight leash. When Nob Hill Socialite Jack Burley (Jack Holt) and Maestro Baldini of the Tivoli Opera House (William Ricciardi) see her singing and offer her a chance to do opera, she sorrowfully stands by her contract with Blackie. Later, she does leave for the Tivoli. Eventually, Blackie asks her to marry him, and she agrees to go back to the Paradise. But Blackie's childhood chum Father Tim (Spencer Tracy) intervenes. Then, the earthquake hits...

Romeo and Juliet (George Cukor)
Nominated Best Picture
Classic Shakespearean tragedy about warring families and young love. The Montagues and the Capulets, two powerful families of Verona, hate each other. Romeo (Leslie Howard), son of Montague, crashes a Capulet party, and there meets Juliet (Norma Shearer), daughter of Capulet. They fall passionately in love. Since their families would disapprove, they marry in secret. Romeo gets in a fight with Tybalt (Basil Rathbone), nephew of Lady Capulet, and kills him. He is banished from Verona. Capulet, not knowing that his daughter is already married, proceeds with his plans to marry Juliet to Paris (Ralph Forbes).


Three Smart Girls (Henry Koster)
Nominated Best Picture
The three Craig sisters (Nan Grey, Barbara Read, and Deanna Durbin), in Switzerland with their ten-years-divorced mother (Nella Walker), run away to New York to prevent their father (Charles Winninger) from marrying calculating socialite Donna Lyons (Binnie Barnes). The overpowering vivacity of the Smart Girls (nominal ages 14-20) sweeps all before it, but a romantic complication between middle sister Kay and their accidental ally, Lord Michael Stuart (Ray Milland), threatens shipwreck to their schemes.

Anthony Adverse (Mervyn LeRoy)
Nominated Best Picture
Based on the best-seller by Hervey Allen and set in late 18th century Italy, the film starred Fredric March, Olivia de Havilland, Donald Woods, Anita Louise, Edmund Gwenn and Claude Rains. It tells the story of a naive but ambitious youth Anthony Adverse (March) who travels through early 19th century America, Europe, and Africa, and matures to manhood from his experiences. Notable as the first film to be honored with the newly-created Best Supporting Actress Academy Award (awarded to Gale Sondergaard).

Modern Times (Charles Chaplin)
IMDB Highest Rated
Solonor's Pick
The last silent film from Charlie Chaplin, filled with sound effects, was made when everyone else was making talkies. Charlie turns against modern society, the machine age, and progress. First, we see him frantically trying to keep up with a production line, tightening bolts. He is selected for an experiment with an automatic feeding machine, but various mishaps leads his boss to believe he has gone mad, and Charlie is sent to a mental hospital... When he gets out, he is mistaken for a Communist while waving a red flag, sent to jail, foils a jailbreak, and is let out again. Sadly, this great film did not receive a single nomination from the Academy.

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Best Picture: 1936
What is the Best Picture of 1936?

The Great Ziegfeld
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
Libeled Lady
The Story of Louis Pasteur
San Francisco
Romeo and Juliet
Three Smart Girls
Anthony Adverse
Modern Times

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1935 <- Main Menu -> 1937

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