1935's Mutiny On the Bounty sported Best Actor nominees in Charles Laughton, Clark Gable and Franchot Tone. The film won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Actor for Laughton and had the distinction of receiving the most total nominations that year (8 in all), but on Oscar Night took home only one award: for Best Picture. Oscars for actors in supporting roles were introduced the following year, in part because of Bounty's domination of the category (it was widely felt that Tone would have been nominated in the Supporting Actor class if it had existed).

The Best Actor winner was Victor McLaglen for The Informer, who was the only other official nominee that year. But in 1934 and 1935, the Academy permitted write-in votes in an era when they also announced the complete tallies of the election. In the voting totals, it turned out that McLaglen's closest competitor wasn't one of the nominated Mutiny on the Bounty trio, but write-in Paul Muni in the Warner Bros. drama Black Fury.

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