Published On: Sat, May 19th, 2018

Oscar: First Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress Awards

The First Best Actor and Actress Awards

Janet Gaynor

The first ceremony in 1929 recognized actors for their body of work rather than in an individual movie. Honored at the presentations were Janet Gaynor for her work in Sunrise, Seventh Heaven, and Street Angel; and, Emil Jennings for The Way of All Flesh and The Last Command. Only 22 at the time, Gaynor would be the youngest woman to win best actress until Marlee Matlin, age 21, won in 1986. Jennings, a citizen of Germany, was back home and unable to attend the awards program. He, thus, became the first foreigner to win best actor and also the first honoree not to attend the presentation ceremony.

The First Best Supporting Actor and Actress Awards

It was not until the 10th award ceremony (1936) that Oscars were handed out in these categories. The best supporting actor award went to Walter Brennan for his role in Come and Get It. Brennan’s eventual three awards in this category is still a record today. The supporting actress award went to Gale Sondergaard for her portrayal of Faith in Anthony Adverse. Sondergaard later was offered the role of the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz, but turned it down because she did believe that the character should be “ugly.”

For the first few years, supporting actors did not receive an actual Oscar, but were given a bronze plaque instead. Eventually, the plaque winners were given statuettes.

About the Author

- Paul Linus is an eminent online journalist who has been writing news, features and editorials on different websites from across the world for about a decade. He can be contacted at

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