Wednesday, February 15, 2012

1930s Oscars!!!

We are done with the 30s!!!!

I have to say, I am bit sadder to see these go than I was to end the 20s era.  Some of my favorite movies were in this decade.  I enjoyed the swashbuckling adventures and the fast-talking comedies.  I also fell in love with French cinema and Laurence Olivier.  I conquered the quest of finding Me and My Gal and I sat through even more Chaplins! I got to see the perspective of people living in another time and experiencing historical events that seem really far away from me now.  Truly an unforgettable era and it makes me sad that people from today's generation will spend their time seeing movies like The Vow for the rest of their lives instead of looking behind them and experiencing this wonderful age of cinema.  As always, feel free to comment and/or add your own categories.

Nominees: Captain Blood, The Thin Man, The Gold Diggers of 1933, The Grand Illusion, Love Me Tonight

WORST PICTURE: Triumph of the Will
Nominees: Babes In Arms, The Black Cat, The Wizard of Oz, Make Way for Tomorrow

BEST ACTOR: Jean Gabin
Nominees: Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Errol Flynn (shut up; I love him!), Clark Gable

BEST ACTRESS: Olivia de Havilland
Nominees: Vivien Leigh, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Fontaine, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Blondell

BEST LINE: "I love Russians! Comrade, I have been fascinated by your five year plan for the last fifteen years!" from Ninotchka or "Peabody, you disgust me." from Gold Diggers of 1933.

BEST DIRECTOR: Jean Renoir!!!!
No competition!


  1. Excuse me, no Gone with the Wind?!?! I do agree with the nominations, though. I love that you did this and look forward to the 1940's!

    1. I did think about adding Gone With the Wind. However, the length was a bit of a turn off for me and I could not in good conscience list it as one of my favorite movies. Thanks Rachel!

  2. Generally agree on your picks. I did a similar list when I finished the thirties and I also has M at the top. In fact my list was not so different from yours.
    Love that line from Ninotchka.

    1. I just looked at your List for the thirties! I agree that Make Way For Tomorrow is one of the saddest movies ever. I watched it by myself then again for a film class. I don't think my heart can take another viewing.

  3. Wow, I've somewhat surprised myself by completing another decade.

    I'm writing this first draft before looking at your own winners so as not to be influenced. I sat in the park with a notebook & pen and went through The Book page by page. It's quite tricky comparing the 1930-34 films that I watched last Winter with the 1935-39 batch that I've watched this Winter. Not sure why I took most of the Summer off, but I did. Also, there are a handful of films that I've seen before and remembered well enough not to watch them again as I came through. But it's still tricky to compare them to what I've just watched in the context of the list.

    The other complication is trying to balance quantity against quality. If it were just about how many films you're in then best actor would be between Guy Kibbee and that dog. On the other hand, multiple films is an opportunity to demonstrate your range.

    Best Film - M
    Other nominations: The Public Enemy, Gold Diggers of 1933, The Awful Truth, Stagecoach
    M blew me away when I saw it. Fritz Lang would likely have won a director's award had the layout of the decades been different. So many good films in the list, but I actually struggled to make a shortlist of truly amazing films.

    Best Actress - Ginger Rogers
    Other nominations - Marlene Dietrich, Joan Blondell, Barbara Stanwyck
    Why was this such a harder category to fill than best actor? Most films seemed to have a male and female lead, but probably not if I thought about it. Garbo stands out, but I'm always feeling that I'm watching the wrong film and she'd be brilliant if I saw her in something else. In the end I'll go for Rogers' graceful movements. These awards have a wider remit than traditional Oscar acting trophies, and cover all sorts of things that go into entertaining on the screen. Let us not overlook what a good comedy actress she was as well though. I didn't totally get what all the fuss was about with Dietrich in The Blue Angel, but although her contribution to Shanghai Express might be said to be all about modelling for camera shots, I'm a big fan of iconic images. And she was very good in Destry Rides Again, if you overlook her flat-tone singing.

    Best Actor - Paul Muni
    Other nominations - Peter Lorre, Groucho Marx, Fred Astaire, Boris Karloff
    It has to be, doesn't it? I actually agonised long and hard in the past couple of days about whether it should be Peter Lorre. He's a personal favourite of mine and he was the centrepiece of my favourite film. And these are supposed to be subjective choices, right? But in the end I went back to Muni, who I suspected would get the nod right from the first time I saw him. I'm overlooking several multi-film stalwarts here, the most notable of which is Cary Grant. But although I'm very impressed by him in general, when I think about it I only really liked him in two of those five films.

    Best Director - Leo McCarey
    Other nominations - Jean Renoir, Howard Hawks, Fritz Lang
    It very difficult when checking back who directed what, not to just go for the obvious options. Frank Capra, for example, just knocks out several great films without attracting adoration in the way that Hitchcock or someone else with a more obvious niche might do. I gave it to Renoir and wrote out an explanation, but now going back checking for spelling mistakes I've changed my mind and promoted McCarey instead.

    Special Awards
    - Busby Berkeley was technically a director, but only for the very poor Babes in Arms. But his show-piece numbers at the start of the decade might be the highlight of the entire thirties.
    - I can never remember enough to pick out a single line, but I do love a good script so Best Dialogue can go to Dodsworth, ahead of The Thin Man and (apparently improvised anyway) The Awful Truth
    - Freaks defies categorisation, but needs to be mentioned somewhere.

  4. We all picked M! I thought I'd be out on my own with that one.

  5. Erm, just wondering, what inspired you to give Joan Fontaine a nomination? Her minor role in Gunga Din? Am I forgetting something?

  6. You didn't pick a Worst Picture! I guess that goes along with your no hate policy. Why did I pick Joan Fontaine? I remember being impressed with her in Rebecca and Letters from an Unknown Woman. But that was in the 40s...oh 2012 Amanda, what was going on in your head?

  7. Yes, deliberate not to pick Worst... anything, for the reason you say. Everyone was doing their best so no need to shoot it down. Anything I particularly didn't like got dealt with on that film's page.

    Incidentally, flicking through the pages of the book from the start the other day, I noticed that I generally dislike far more foreign films than English-language. I guess if a film's a stinker then it's far easier to tolerate and forgive if you don't have to concentrate too hard to follow. EG: Sergeant York, Me And My Gal. Also, Hollywood was a far better established industry than anywhere else at this time, so you were at least guaranteed certain standards in production values, professional actors etc, even if the film was artistically empty.