ⓘ 13th Academy Awards


ⓘ 13th Academy Awards

The 13th Academy Awards honored American film achievements in 1940. This was the first year that sealed envelopes were used to keep secret the names of the winners which led to the famous phrase: "May I have the envelope, please?" The accounting firm of Price Waterhouse was hired to count the ballots, after the fiasco of leaked voting results in 1939 by the Los Angeles Times.

For the first time, the award for Best Screenplay was split into two separate categories: Best Original Screenplay and Best Screenplay.

Independent producer David O. Selznick, who had produced the previous years big winner Gone with the Wind 1939, also produced the Best Picture winner in 1940, Rebecca – and campaigned heavily for its win. Selznick was the first to produce two consecutive winners of the Best Picture Oscar. Although Rebecca had eleven nominations, it only won for Best Picture and Best Cinematography Black and White, marking the last time a film would win Best Picture but not win for either directing, acting, or writing.

The films distributor – United Artists – was the last of the original film studios to win the Best Picture Oscar. Rebecca was the first American-made film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and the only film from him to win Best Picture. Hitchcock had two films nominated for Best Picture, the other being Foreign Correspondent. Two other directors also had two films in the running this year: Sam Wood Our Town and Kitty Foyle and John Ford The Long Voyage Home and The Grapes of Wrath, which won Best Director.

Pinocchio was the first animated film to take home competitive Oscars, for both Best Original Score and Best Original Song, starting a long tradition of animated films winning in these categories.

The Thief of Bagdad received the most Oscars of the evening, three, the first time a film not nominated for Best Picture won the most awards. This and Pinocchio were the first films not nominated for Best Picture to receive multiple awards.


1. Academy Honorary Awards

  • Colonel Nathan Levinson "for his outstanding service to the industry and the Army during the past nine years, which has made possible the present efficient mobilization of the motion picture industry facilities for the production of Army Training Films".
  • Bob Hope "in recognition of his unselfish services to the Motion Picture Industry".

2. 1941 Oscar firsts

For the first time, names of all winners remained secret until the moment they received their awards.

Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a six-minute direct radio address to the attendees from the White House. It is the first time an American president participated in the event.