May 2010

a pair of Oscar winners: Teresa Wright and Greer Garson in Best Picture winner Mrs. Miniver (1942)

The 15th Academy Awards, for the film year 1942.  The nominations were announced on February 8, 1943 and the awards were held on March 4, 1943.

Best Picture:  Mrs. Miniver

  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • The Magnificent Ambersons
  • Kings Row
  • Random Harvest
  • The Pride of the Yankees
  • The Talk of the Town
  • 49th Parallel
  • The Pied Piper
  • Wake Island

Most Surprising Omission:  Woman of the Year

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Sullivan’s Travels

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #71


the 1st Edition of Richard Russo's The Risk Pool (1988)

The Risk Pool

  • Author:  Richard Russo
  • Rank:  #80
  • Published:  1988
  • Publisher:  Random House
  • Pages:  479  (Vintage paperback)
  • First Lines:  “My father, unlike so many of the men he served with, knew just what he wanted to do when the war was over.  He wanted to drink and whore and play the horses.”
  • Last Lines:  “She had the baby on her breast, and she turned it over so I could see my son’s little stem.  It was a touching moment.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Film:  long rumored, never made
  • Read:  Fall, 2001 (more…)

the Scribners classic Fitzgerald books

“His talent was as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings.  At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred.  Later he became conscious of his damaged wings and of their construction and he learned to think and could not fly any more because the love of flight was gone and he could only remember when it had been effortless.”

Ernest Hemingway on Scott Fitzgerald  –  A Moveable Feast

Hemingway and Fitzgerald have long been linked.  They both rose up as masters of their craft in the 1920’s, both as short story writers and as novelists, both excelling in each form.  While Hemingway was the more successful novelist, making more money, making good money off the film sales and winning the Pulitzer Prize (an award which always eluded Fitzgerald) and Fitzgerald ensured his own financial survival producing short story after short story, their places in literary history are the opposite.  Hemingway’s stories include some of the most classic titles in any anthology: “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place”, “Hills Like White Elephants” and it is Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby that seems to contend with Moby Dick, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Sound and the Fury for the title of the Great American Novel. (more…)

The mining family in How Green Was My Valley (1941)

The 14th Academy Awards, for the film year 1941.  The nominations were announced on February 3, 1942 and the awards were held on February 26, 1942.

Best Picture:  How Green Was My Valley

  • Citizen Kane
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • The Little Foxes
  • Here Comes Mr. Jordan
  • Suspicion
  • Hold Back the Dawn
  • One Foot in Heaven
  • Sergeant York
  • Blossoms in the Dust

Most Surprising Omission:  Ball of Fire

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Fantasia

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #57 (more…)

The 1958 Modern Library version of Sons and Lovers

Sons and Lovers

  • Author:  D.H. Lawrence  (1885  –  1930)
  • Rank:  #81
  • Published:  1913
  • Publisher:  Gerald Duckworth and Company Ltd
  • Pages:  511  (Penguin paperback)
  • First Line:  ” ‘The Bottoms’ succeeded to ‘Hell Row’. “
  • Last Lines:  “He would not take that direction, to the darkness, to follow her.  He walked towards the faintly humming, glowing town, quickly.”
  • ML Edition:  #109  (six dust jackets  –  1924 / 1927 / 1931 / 1936 / 1958 / 1962)
  • Acclaim:  Modern Library Top 100 English Language Novels of the 20th Century  –  #9
  • Film:  1960  (***.5  –  dir. Jack Cardiff)
  • Read:  Summer, 1996 (more…)

David O. Selznick triumphs again with Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier in Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940)

The 13th Academy Awards, for the film year 1940.  The nominations were announced on February 10, 1941 and the awards were held on February 27, 1941.

Best Picture:  Rebecca

  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • The Great Dictator
  • The Letter
  • The Long Voyage Home
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Our Town
  • Kitty Foyle
  • All This and Heaven Too

Most Surprising Omission:  Arise My Love

Best Film Not Nominated:  His Girl Friday

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #50 (more…)

While I am dealing with a bout of the flu and haven’t been able to be at the computer long enough to post anything new, I’ll throw up a family update.

I have the flu.  Getting better.  Still not well.  The last time I had a fever this high (102) was when I had pneumonia at Thanksgiving, 1995.

Veronica is doing fine.  Her department has finished their move and she now has her own office.

We had the meeting for Thomas’ IEP.  It looks he will be staying at the same school next year, which pleases us.  It looks like he will still be a in separate classroom, but a bigger one and he will be doing a lot more mainstreaming, which, again, pleases us.

He is also doing very well at swimming lessons (one unfortunately got cut short when one of the kids pooped in the pool).  He has started singing more songs including “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” and, much to Veronica’s annoyance, “The Final Countdown.”

In a couple of weeks, Thomas will be getting some cavities filled.  Because of fears of how he would react to the drilling, he will actually be put under, which fills us with apprehension, as you can imagine.  That’s on June 4, so we’ll let people know after he’s out and awake.

Graham Greene’s record of hate: The End of the Affair (1951)

The End of the Affair

  • Author:  Graham Greene  (1904 – 1991)
  • Rank:  #82
  • Published:  1951
  • Publisher:  William Heinemann Ltd.
  • Pages:  192  (Penguin 20th Century Classics)
  • First Line:  “A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.”
  • Last Line:  “I wrote at the start that this was a record of hate, and walking there beside Henry towards the evening glass of beer, I found the one prayer that seemed to serve the winter mood: O God, You’ve done enough, You’ve robbed me of enough, I’m too tired and old to learn to love, leave me alone for ever.”
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Film:  1955  (**.5 – dir. Edward Dmytryk), 1999  (**** – #3 of the year, dir. Neil Jordan)
  • Read:  December, 1999 (more…)

Where were all you people who love this film back in 1994? You certainly weren't with me in the theater on opening night.

Here’s a little random post while I finish working on some of my other posts.  These are all numbers from the IMDb.  It is kind of a representation of quasi-popular opinion on Best Picture nominees.  It’s popular opinion because these are numbers based on IMDb ratings and votes, something which anyone can do.  On the other hand, you have to care enough to at least register and do the voting.  So, kind of a mix of those who care about films and those who have too much time on their hands when they’re on the web.

So, here are some stats on films that were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

Since the numbers on all of these tend to change, I’ll let you know that all these of numbers were pulled on April 29, 2010.

I’ve added a little updated inspired by one of the comments.  It’s at the end.


It’s just a hunch, but I’m gonna go ahead and guess that he doesn’t give a damn.

The 12th Academy Awards, for the film year 1939.  The nominees were announced on February 11, 1940 and the awards were held on February 29, 1940.

Best Picture:  Gone with the Wind

  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Stagecoach
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Ninotchka
  • Goodbye Mr. Chips
  • Dark Victory
  • Love Affair

Most Surprising Omission:  Young Mr. Lincoln

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  The Lady Vanishes

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #47


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