March 2010


Anita Page, Bessie Love and Charles King in The Broadway Melody (1929), the second, and worst, Best Picture winner.

The 2nd Academy Awards – for the film year of August 1, 1928 to July 31, 1929.  The awards were held on April 30, 1930.

Best Production:  The Broadway Melody

  • In Old Arizona
  • Alibi
  • The Hollywood Revue of 1929
  • The Patriot

Most Surprising Omission:  The Divine Lady

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Nosferatu

Best Eligible U.S. Film Not Nominated:  Steamboat Bill, Jr.

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #82

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  • The third Modern Library version of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (1847)

    Wuthering Heights

  • Author:  Emily Bronte  (1818-1848)
  • Rank:  #93
  • Published:  1847
  • Publisher:  Thomas Cautley Newby
  • Pages:  315 (Bantam Classic)
  • First Line:  “1801 – I have just returned from a visit to my landlord – the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.”
  • Last Line:  “I lingered round them, under that benign sky: watched the moths fluttering among the heath and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”
  • ML Edition:  #106 – 4 different dust jackets (1926, 1939, 1950, 1967)
  • Film:  1939  –  **** (dir. William Wyler)  /  1954  –  *** (Luis Buñuel)   – among numerous film versions
  • Read:  Fall, 1999 (more…)

The 1st Academy Awards – for the film year of August 1, 1927 to July 31, 1928 – awards held on May 16, 1929

Best Production: Wings

Wings: the first Best Picture winner (1927)

  • 7th Heaven
  • The Racket

Formerly Listed as Nominees:

  • The Last Command
  • The Way of All Flesh

Best Artistic Quality of Production:  Sunrise

  • Chang
  • The Crowd

Most Surprising Omission:  The Circus

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Metropolis

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #72

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I snagged this image of the cover from the author's website. And if she reads the review, I'm hoping she'll be okay with that. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow (2010)

Serendipity is a funny thing.  It can mean that you end up working on a Tuesday night when you are normally off to cover for someone out of town.  That will mean you drive in to Brookline instead of taking the bus.  So you might be listening to “All Things Considered.”  And so you happen to listen and hear a writer talk about her first novel, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.  And she might talk about Nella Larsen, whose great novel, Passing, you read in Graduate School.  In Portland, Oregon, where the bulk of this new novel takes place.  So when you get to work, you look it up to make sure you have copies.  Then someone comes in ten minutes later and asks about it, because it turns out she was also listening to NPR and you know right where it is.  And so you pick up and read a book you might normally never have grabbed and you find yourself transported to a city where you spent the largest portion of your life.  And then you make it to the end and realize that it is one hell of a book, the first brand new novel by any novelist, first-time or otherwise, that has rocked you in a long time. (more…)

Spencer Tracy might have won the Oscar for Boys Town, but it's one of nine films that were nominated for Best Picture that he was in. They all lost.

First, the status update.  Starting the day after the Oscars, in addition to getting back on a more regular schedule with The Year in Film and The Top 100 Novels, I will also be adding in The History of the Academy Awards: Best Picture.  I will be doing a breakdown year by year, looking at each individual film.  To get some better perspective on this I will be re-watching every Best Picture nominee.  This is badly needed, since it’s been 20 years since I’ve seen some of these films.

The first thing this means is that I will not be updating my Best Picture ranked list.  I will wait until next year, after I have re-watched every film and gotten a better perspective before adding any updates.  The only changes I will make to the list this year is to add in this year’s nominees and the four films I hadn’t seen at this point last year.  But next year, I will do a completely new list, starting from scratch.

The second thing is that while I will be starting with the first Oscar year (1927-1928), I also want to catch up with the Year in Film.  So, when I do 1956, I will do both things – Best Picture and The Year in Film.  I will bounce back and forth between moving forward with the years and catching up with the first 30 years that I’ve already covered in The Year in Film.

There will be some random trivia about Best Picture nominees after the jump. (more…)

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