From December 1940:
Clark Gable and Bette Davis can eat their Christmas turkey in peace. They may not win Oscars this year, but they have copped a far more important prize, from a viewpoint of financial security, the box-office rating as the most popular actor and actress of 1940.
This is the second win for Miss Davis, who was accorded the same honor in 1939. Her closest competition this year came from Judy Garland and Myrna Loy. On the heels of Gable were Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney, respectively. The poll was participated in by movie editors, theater owners, civic, educational and religious leaders.