In this year where Argo has been billed as a potential “one and done” winner, I find it appropriate to introduce the last “one and done” winner. That film is the original Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) with Charles Laughton as the wicked Captain Bligh, Clark Gable, and Franchot Tone.
In 1787, the HMS Bounty leaves England for a year-long expedition to the South Seas. Helmed by Captain Bligh, the ship’s hands are under the direction of a tyrannical, unsympathetic navy man who punishes anybody even at the slightest infraction of naval regulation - as he defines it, of course. Bligh’s first officer is Fletcher Christian (Gable) who, after some time, becomes sick of Bligh and maroons him on a lifeboat. Storytelling at its best, the 1935 adaptation of Mutiny on the Bounty is inarguably the best adaptation of the novel.
Nominated for eight Academy Awards including three (!!!) nominations for Best Actor for Gable, Laughton, and Franchot Tone (that is some serious vote-splitting), and Director (Frank Lloyd). As of The Artist's win for 2011, Mutiny on the Bounty is the last film to have won Best Picture without any further wins in any other category.