Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Did Oscar Get it Right?

With the Oscars coming up soon, I thought look back at how often, in my opinion, they got it right. At least for best picture. Now the early years, I really can't judge because most of the first dozen years I haven't seen most of the films.

My plan here is to most days look at the Best Picture picks for five years. But I'm just going to start with the twenties and thirties, when, as I said, I don't know much. It's also strange, because the first few years two years were combined.

The first Academy Awards were for 1927 and 1928, silent years. I've seen the winner for Best Picture, Wings, but not the other nominees, The Racket and Seventh Heaven. Wings is ago, but the film that was given an award for Artistic Achievement, Sunrise, was much better. Sunrise is not only one of the best silent films, ever made, but one of the best films ever made.

The next award for 1928 and 1929 had a collection of films I haven't seen. I might have seen the winner, Broadway Melody, long ago, but if I did, it didn't stick with me.

For 1929/1930 (1929 was so great it was honored twice), I've only seen the winner, All Quiet on the Western Front. I haven't seen the other nominees, but it's hard to believe any of the other nominees were better than this great film.

1931 and 1932, I've only seen the winner, Grand Hotel, and it could well be that one of the other films was better.

1932 and 1933, I haven't seen the winner, Cavalcade. But I have seen some of the other nominees. 42nd Street and I Was a Fugitive from a Chain Gang were nominated, great films, probably better than the winner. But King Kong wasn't even nominated. KK is a true masterpiece.

We finally get to single year Oscars in 1934 and again I haven't seen most of the nominees. But the winner also won Best Actor, Best Actress, Screenplay and Director. It Happened One Night is a great film.

1935's winner was Mutiny On the Bounty isn't as good as the nominee, Top Hat.

1936's winner, The Great Ziegfeld, is a snooze, but I don't know the other nominees. I do know that Fritz Lang's Fury came out, wasn't nominated, though it's pretty great.

The winner for 1937, The Life of Emile Zola, is fairly dull, nominee Lost Horizon was much better.

1938's winner, You Can't Take It With You, is okay, not as good as nominee Pygmalion. The truly great nominee was The Adventures of Robin Hood.

With 1939, we're finally getting to a year when I've seen most all the nominees.This year has been called the greatest year in film history. And most people were pretty happy with the winner, Gone With the Wind. Most people are still pretty happy with that film. The other nominees were Dark Victory, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz and Wuthering Heights. A collection of really great films. But my vote would have gone to Wizard of Oz.

Next post, I'll just take five years.

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