The Oscar winners of One More Reprise

The 93rd Academy Awards are only hours away. As we wait to find out which performances and films will be voted the best of 2020 and 2021, we look back through Oscars history. Our stars were there all the way back to the very first ceremony. Held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in 1929, those first awards were momentous for One More Reprise stars.

Janet Gaynor

Janet Gaynor became the first Best Actress winner for not one, but three movies, for her performances in 7th Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise. She would share a celebratory toast with Outstanding Picture director for Wings, William A. Wellman, who would eight years later cast her as the lead in A Star Is Born. Also taking out awards in year one were Lewis Milestone for Best Director in comedy for Two Arabian Knights, and Ben Hecht, for writing on Underworld. The pair won several other awards in future years, and went on to work together to make The Front Page – a film which itself earned nominations in the 4th Academy Awards for Outstanding Production, Best Director and Best Actor for Adolphe Menjou.

Gaynor and Menjou’s A Star Is Born co-star Fredric March won his first award for Best Actor in the Awards’ fifth ceremony for titular role in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He won the award again in 1946 for The Best Year of Our Lives. In a case of art imitating life, and life imitating art back again, the pair portrayed actors attending the Academy Awards in A Star Is Born, which was itself nominated for seven Oscars at the 10th Academy Awards. It won for William Wellman’s story, and cinematographer W. Howard Greene was given an Academy Honorary Award for colour photography – this was the first colour film to be nominated for Best Picture. May Robson played Gaynor’s doting grandmother in the film, and had herself, in 1933, become both the oldest nominee for an Oscar at age 75, and also the first Australian nominee.

Whilst producer David O. Selznick celebrated the success of his film A Star Is Born at the 10th awards, he went on to win again, taking the award for Outstanding Production (later to be known as Best Picture) for Gone With The Wind in 1939 and Rebecca in 1940. He was nominated in the category a total of eight times during his career. Also taking an award for Best Original Score at the 10th awards was The Green Hornet composer Charles Previn. The award, for his work on One Hundred Men and a Girl was seen as controversial: Rather than featuring original music, the film was soundtracked by a selection of classical symphonies and operatic pieces. The score won beat out that of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which had been expected to win.

Despite several nominations between them, His Girl Friday co-stars Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell didn’t win their own awards until the 1970s. Grant was presented with an Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 42nd Awards by Frank Sinatra, who noted Grant’s ‘unique mastery of the art of screen acting.’ Sinatra was back at the 45th Awards, this time to present Russell with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, recognising her work with disadvantaged children, the elderly, and various other causes, including assisting tornado victims in Kansas. Like Russell and Grant, their director, Howard Hawks was nominated for several awards during his career, being recognised at the 47th Awards with an Honorary Award as ‘master American filmmaker whose creative efforts hold a distinguished place in world cinema.’

Peter Sallis

Another to be given an Honorary Award was His Girl Friday‘s Ralph Bellamy. Having been nominated for an award for acting in The Awful Truth in 1937, Bellamy was presented his award at the 59th Awards fifty years later for ‘his unique artistry and his distinguished service to the profession of acting.’ An unlikely entrant on this list is British actor Peter Sallis, who was mainly known for his roles in classic television, including a spot in H.G Wells’ The Invisible Man. Later in life he became the voice of Wallace, in the Wallace and Gromit film series. It was a role which saw the films win Oscars in 1993, 1995 and again in 2005.

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