Oscar: Ties–Mack Sennett Vs. Pete Smith

Oscar Controversy: Ties

When Mack Sennett found out that his nominated short, “Wrestling Swordfish,” had lost to Pete Smith’s “Swing High” by only 3 votes on the final ballot, he called the Academy’s attention to the book of rules, which stated that a 3-point difference was considered a tie vote.

The Academy’s Executive secretary declined the honor, and the tie-breaking vote was turned over to the entire Academy membership.

In 1931-1932, only three men were nominated for Best Actor: Wallace Beery for The Champ, Alfred Lunt for The Guardsman, and Fredric March for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

A tie, the first in Oscar history, was declared between Beery and March, though the exact number of votes that each thespian had received was not publicly disclosed.

In the future, to avoid embarrassments and prevent misunderstandings, the Academy decided to announce the exact orders of votes in each of the categories at the end of the evening.