12th Academy Awards

The twelfth Academy Awards ceremony was held on Thursday, February 29, 1940 at the Coconut Grove of the Ambassador Hotel.

Though the winners were supposed to be kept a secret, attendees who had happened to buy a newspaper before the show knew who had won. For years, the Academy had given a winners list to newspapers early so that they could announce the winners in their late editions. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Times announced the winners in their 8:45 p.m. edition. Ever since the twelfth Awards ceremony, the winners have been kept an absolute secret. Though there were many great contenders this year for the awards, Gone With the Wind had an Oscar sweep by winning eight Academy Awards. Hattie McDaniel (Gone With the Wind) became the first African-American actress to be nominated and to win. Bob Hope hosted the event.

The 12th Academy Awards, honoring the best in film for 1939, was held on February 29, 1940 at a banquet in the Coconut Grove at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. It was hosted by Bob Hope (for the first time).

David O. Selznick's Gone with the Wind received the most nominations of the year with thirteen. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Stagecoach, Love Affair, The Wizard of Oz, The Rains Came, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men and Dark Victory were among the films with multiple nominations.

This was the first year where an Oscar was awarded for visual effects.

The 1939 Academy Award Winners

Picture: Gone With the Wind
Actor: Robert Donat (Goodbye, Mr. Chips)
Actress: Vivien Leigh (Gone With the Wind)
Supporting Actor: Thomas Mitchell (Stagecoach)
Supporting Actress: Hattie McDaniel (Gone With the Wind)
Director: Victor Fleming (Gone With the Wind)
Adapted Screenplay: Sidney Howard (Gone With the Wind)
Original Screenplay: Lewis R. Foster (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)
Song: "Over the Rainbow" (The Wizard of Oz)
Score: Stagecoach / The Wizard of Oz
Cinematography: Wuthering Heights (Black and White) / Gone With the Wind (Color)
Interior Decoration: Gone With the Wind
Film Editing: Gone With the Wind
Sound: When Tomorrow Comes
Special Effects: The Rains Came
Short Films: The Ugly Duckling (Cartoons) / Busy Little Bears (One-Reel) / Sons of Liberty (Two-Reel)