HOLLYWOOD -- For the first time in Hollywood's history a pair of foreigners -- Vivien Leigh of the green eyes and Robert Donat, suave player of character roles -- today became king and queen of the movie industry.
Donat remained in London, where he played in "Goodbye Mr. Chips," the picture which won him the current, motion picture academy award as 1939's best actor. Miss Leigh, who looked as sprightly as Scarlett O'Hara did on the screen, accepted her award personally for her work in "Gone With the Wind."
"Gone," the costs of which are nearing the $5,000,000 mark as the technicolor studios grind out extra prints at $1,250 each, was named the greatest picture of the year. Hattie McDaniel, who played Scarlett's mammy, became the first Negro woman to win a coveted "Oscar," as the best supporting actress.
With six gardenias in her hair, a wide grin on her mouth and a green velvet sash around her ample middle, she was the hit of the 12th annual academy award banquet, which began Thursday night at the Cocoanut Grove and did not end until the small hours today.
Thomas Mitchell, who was a second-rate newspaper reporter before he became first-class thespian, received the best-supporting-actor award for his part in "Stagecoach."
David O. Selznick got the special Irving G. Thalberg memorial award for the best producing job of the year, while petite Judy Garland, in a lavender dress with orchid to match, received a miniature "Oscar" a gold plated statuette as the best juvenile performer.
Donat has paid only brief visits to America, Miss Leigh was an unknown in Hollywood before she went into "Gone." Nobody ever had heard of Hattie McDaniel, while Mitchell began to get important roles only last year.
Spencer Tracy passed out the awards, with all the eclat of an expert "Oscar" handler. He has two of them on his mantel piece.