Oscar Directors: Wood, Sam–Background, Career, Awards; Filmography

Updated June 9, 2020

Sam Wood Career Summation

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Career Output: over 80 films

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Samuel Grosvenor Wood was born on July 10, 1883 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He began his career as an actor, and worked for Cecil B. De Mille as an assistant in 1915.

As a solo director by 1919, Wood directed some of Paramount’s biggest stars, among them Gloria Swanson and Wallace Reid.

Studio Director

He joined MGM in 1927, where he spent most of his career. While filming the Marx Brothers’ A Day at the Races, Wood became exasperated by the brothers’ lack of seriousness on the set and shouted, “You can’t make an actor out of clay!” Groucho Marx immediately replied, “Nor a director out of Wood!”

Wood directed Ginger Rogers in her Oscar-winning performance in Kitty Foyle (1940), for which he earned Best Actor nomination.

He was best known for directing such Hollywood hits as A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, and The Pride of the Yankees.

Wood continued to have a large number of box office hits in his career, including his last film, the Western Ambush (1950), though he died before its release.

Wood was politically conservative. In 1943, he expressed the anti-fascist content of For Whom the Bell Tolls, saying “It would be the same love story if they were on the other side.”

In 1944, he founded and served as president of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, which lobbied the House Un-American Activities Committee to examine Communist elements in the movie industry, which they did in 1947.

Wood kept a black notebook in which he wrote the names of those he considered subversive.  After a 1949 meeting of his Motion Picture Alliance in which he had raged against a liberal screenwriter, Wood suffered a fatal heart attack; September 22, 1949. He famously added a condition to his will: No one, including his children, could collect inheritance until they filed a legal affidavit affirming they had never been Communists.

Filmography
Silent

Double Speed (1920)
Excuse My Dust (1920)
The Dancin’ Fool (1920)
Sick Abed (1920)
What’s Your Hurry? (1920)
A City Sparrow (1920)
Her Beloved Villain (1920)
Her First Elopement (1920)
The Snob (1921)
Peck’s Bad Boy (1921)
The Outside Woman (1921)
The Great Moment (1921)
Under the Lash (1921)
Don’t Tell Everything (1921)
Her Husband’s Trademark (1922)
Her Gilded Cage (1922)
Beyond the Rocks (1922)
The Impossible Mrs. Bellew (1922)
My American Wife (1922)
Prodigal Daughters (1923)
Bluebeard’s 8th Wife (1923)
His Children’s Children (1923)
The Next Corner (1924)
Bluff (1924)
The Female (1924)
The Mine with the Iron Door (1924)
The Re-Creation of Brian Kent (1925)
Fascinating Youth (1926)
One Minute to Play (1926)
Rookies (1927 film) (1927)
A Racing Romeo (1927)
The Fair Co-Ed (1927)
The Latest from Paris (1928)
Telling the World (1928)
So This Is College (1929)
It’s a Great Life (1929)

1930
They Learned About Women

The Girl Said No

The Sins of the Children

Way for a Sailor

Paid

1931
A Tailor Made Man

The Man in Possession

New Adventures of Get Rich Quick Wallingford

1932
Huddle

Prosperity

1933
The Barbarian

Hold Your Man

Christopher Bean

1934
Stamboul Quest

1935
Let ‘Em Have It

A Night at the Opera

Whipsaw

1936
The Unguarded Hour

1937
A Day at the Races

Madame X

Navy Blue and Gold

1938
Lord Jeff

Stablemates

1939
Goodbye, Mr. Chips

Best Actor for Robert Donat
Nomination — Outstanding Production for Victor Saville
Nomination — Best Director
Nomination — Best Actress for Greer Garson
Raffles

Gone with the Wind (replaced Victor Fleming for about 20 days when Fleming temporary left due to exhaustion)

1940
Our Town

Nomination — Outstanding Production for Sol Lesser
Nomination — Best Actress for Martha Scott
Rangers of Fortune

Kitty Foyle

Best Actress for Ginger Rogers
Nomination — Outstanding Production for David Hempstead
Nomination — Best Director
1941
The Devil and Miss Jones

Nomination — Best Supporting Actor for Charles Coburn
1942
Kings Row

Nomination — Outstanding Motion Picture for Hal B. Wallis
Nomination — Best Director
The Pride of the Yankees

Nomination — Outstanding Motion Picture for Samuel Goldwyn
Nomination — Best Actor for Gary Cooper
Nomination — Best Actress for Teresa Wright
1943
For Whom the Bell Tolls

Best Supporting Actress for Katina Paxinou
Nomination — Outstanding Motion Picture
Nomination — Best Actor for Gary Cooper
Nomination — Best Actress for Ingrid Bergman
Nomination — Best Supporting Actor for Akim Tamiroff
1944
Casanova Brown

Nomination — Best Art Direction (B/W) for Perry Ferguson and Julia Heron
Nomination — Best Music (Score of a Dramatic/Comedy Picture) Arthur Lange
Nomination — Best Sound Recording for Thomas T. Moulton
1945
Guest Wife

Nomination — Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic/Comedy Picture for Daniele Amfitheatrof
Saratoga Trunk

Nomination — Best Supporting Actress for Flora Robson
1946
Heartbeat

1947
Ivy

1948
Command Decision

1949
The Stratton Story
Best Writing, Motion Picture Story for Douglas Morrow
1950
Ambush