first person to actually receive an Oscar statuette when he
was awarded the first Best Actor Oscar two weeks before the
1927/1928 ceremony so that he didn't have to postpone a trip to
his home in Germany. He won Best Actor for two silent films
(The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh),
and was considered by many to be the greatest actor in the
world during the silent film period on the basis of his performances
in such classics as The Last Laugh (1924) and Variety
(1925), but when the talkies came into vogue he opted not
to work on his English and instead return to
Germany to star in the classic The Blue Angel. When
the Nazis cames into power, Hitler installed Jannings on the
Board of Directors of the Tobis movie studio. He was awarded
a medal by Goebbels and honored as "Artist of the State."
He starred in many films for the Nazis, including Der alte
und der junge König (1935) and Ohm Krüger
(1941), one of the most expensive anti-British propaganda
productions of the Third Reich.
Berlin fell, he pathetically approached U.S. soldiers holding
his Academy Award over his head screaming "Don't shoot!
I have Oscar!" Jannings was blacklisted after the war
despite claiming that he was forced to make the propaganda
films against his will, and died in disgrace in 1950.
Return to Jonny's Oscar Trivia