Oscar Movies: Captains Courageous (1937)

MGM

Oscar Nominations: 4

Best Picture, produced by Louis D. Lighton
Actor: Spencer Tracy
Screenplay: Marc Connelly, John Lee Mahin, and Dale Van Every
Film Editing: Elmo Vernon

Oscar Awards: 1
Actor

Oscar Context

In 1937, nine other movies competed with “Captains Courageous” for Best Picture, including Warner biopic, “The Life of Emile Zola,” which won the top award, Leo McCarey's marital comedy “The Awful Truth” with six nominations, and Gregory La Cava's backstage drama, “Stage Door,” with four.

The other nominees were: William Wyler's social drama set in a New York City slum, “Dead End,” Frank Capra's utopian comedy “Lost Horizon,” and Henry King's adventure “In Old Chicago,” The first version of “A Star Is Born,” “The Good Earth,” “In Old Chicago,” and the Deana Durbin vehicle, “One Hundred Men and a Girl.” Next to Life of Emile Zola, the most-nominated films were Fox's adventure “In Old Chicago” and “A Star Is Born.”

Only one of the ten nominated pictures was a comedy, Leo McCarey's sublime screwball, “The Awful Truth,” co-starring Cary Grant and Irene Dunne at their very best. The Oscars were spread among eight films; the only two pictures that didn't win any award were “Dead End” and “Stage Door.”

This was Spencer Tracy's first Best Actor, that he himself didn't like. But it was “flashy” role, the kind of which impressed Academy voters, what with Tracy's curly hair and (fake) accent as a Portuguese fisherman.