Oscar History: Academy Award Winning Movies and Actors of 1940

A look at Oscar winners and nominees, behind the scenes on the decisions for best picture, actor, etc for 1940, Hitchcock's Rebecca gets top honors.

1940

Best Picture

NOMINEES: All This and Heaven Too, Foreign Correspondent, The Grapes of Wrath, Rebecca, The Great Dictator, Kitty Foyle, The Letter, The Long Voyage Home, Our Town, The Philadelphia Story

THE WINNER: Rebecca (Selznick-United Artists)

DIRECTOR: Alfred Hitchcock

PLAYERS: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine

Best Actor

NOMINEES: Laurence Olivier (Rebecca); James Stewart (The Philadelphia Story); Charles Chaplin (The Great Dictator); Henry Fonda (The Grapes of Wrath); Raymond Massey (Abe Lincoln in Illinois)

THE WINNER: James Stewart

Best Actress

NOMINEES: Ginger Rogers (Kitty Foyle); Bette Davis (The Letter); Joan Fontaine (Rebecca); Katharine Hepburn (The Philadelphia Story); Martha Scott (Our Town)

THE WINNER: Ginger Rogers

Behind the Oscar

Until this year, the Academy members always knew the winners in advance. And newspapers had been pledged to release the announcement late in the evening. But when the Los Angeles Times broke the pledge the year before, the Academy decided that, thereafter, the winners would be kept secret, and known only when a sealed envelope was opened onstage. This was the 1st year of Price, Waterhouse and the sealed envelope. FDR addressed the gathering by radio. Walter Brennan, in taking the best supporting actor award, became the Academy's 1st 3-time winner.

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