A Century of Film


So, I originally planned to have one long post that covered both film history through 1939 as well as film history during the decade but decided it was long enough just being a single decade; as a result, the film history through 1939 will be posted soon after this and that is how it will work with future decades as well (for the 20’s it was irrelevant since I covered all of film history up to that point in one post). (more…)

A couple of famous Oscar winners in 1939.

A couple of famous Oscar winners in 1939.


This is a companion piece to three different series.  The first is the The History of the Academy Awards, in which I covered each category in individual posts.  This was originally done in 2009 and additions were included in 2010.  You can find links to all of these pieces in each individual category.  I have grouped all of the categories together for the same reason that I did so originally – because most pieces on the Oscars don’t approach the awards through the categories, but through the years.  This specific piece is designed to take a closer look at the decade (with a couple of extra years, since there was no point in doing a separate piece on the first two years of the Oscars) and how I think the Academy did in those years.

The second series is my Year in Film series.  That is mentioned here because in those pieces I included paragraphs about the Oscars as a whole for each year and included a considerable amount of trivia.  Since I had based my Year in Film series and eligibility as such on the Academy calendar, it all seemed very relevant.  Also, starting in 1930-31, I started including various prizes (Worst Oscar, Worst Nomination, Worst Omission, etc) and I didn’t want to repeat myself, so following the links will bring you there.  Those links are at the end of this piece, where I do a brief summation of each year and how the Academy did.

The third series is my History of the Academy Awards: Best Picture series, where I reviewed every film ever nominated for Best Picture (except The Patriot, which is lost).  Those links are also down below, grouped by year. (more…)

Still a powerful ending after 83 years.

Still a powerful ending after 83 years.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category.  Films in blue were nominated.  But remember, there’s still only eight categories at this point.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. All Quiet on the Western Front
  2. Lucky Star
  3. Asphalt
  4. The Wonderful Lies of Nina Petrovna
  5. A Cottage on Dartmoor


"So long as I don't know his name perhaps I may still forget him, time will obliterate it, this picture."  All Quiet on the Western Front, p 224

“So long as I don’t know his name perhaps I may still forget him, time will obliterate it, this picture.” All Quiet on the Western Front, p 224

My Top 5:

  1. All Quiet on the Western Front
  2. Lucky Star
  3. Anna Christie
  4. Au Bonheur des Dames
  5. The Cocoanuts

Note:  Again, we only have a top 5.  It was originally more, but in re-watching some films, while I have found more to add in the acting categories, I have found more to subtract in the writing categories.  The Great Gabbo was here at one point, as was Hitchcock’s Blackmail and even Murnau’s City Girl but I ended up cutting all three of them.  This is what I am left with and it’s not an impressive top 5.  All Quiet would be a winner in most years but in a decent year, none of the others would even come close to my top 10, let alone earn actual nominations. (more…)

The animated film that really started it all: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Before diving into the Best Pictures of 1939, I’ll cover the decade at a glance with my own awards.

1930 – 1939

Total Films I’ve Seen:  460

Films That Make the Top 5 in a Category:  35

Best Film Not to Make the Top 5 in Any Category:  Scarface

Film of the Decade:  The Wizard of Oz

Worst Film of the Decade:  Oliver Twist (1932)

Worst Best Picture Nominee of the Decade:  Cleopatra

Worst Film of the Decade made by a Top 100 Director:  Jamaica Inn (more…)

Richard Dix and Irene Dunne were both Oscar nominated for Cimarron (1931) which won Best Picture. None of it was deserved.

The 4th Academy Awards, for the year of August 1, 1930 to July 31, 1931, with the nominations announced on October 5, 1931 and the awards ceremony held on November 10, 1931.

Best Picture:  Cimarron

  • The Front Page
  • Trader Horn
  • Skippy
  • East Lynne

Most Surprising Omission:  A Free Soul

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  City Lights

Rank (out of 82): Among Best Picture Years:  #81


The haunting final shot of All Quiet on the Western Front, easily the best film of 1930.

The 3rd Academy Awards for the film year of August 1, 1929 to July 31, 1930.  The nominations were announced on September 19, 1930 and the awards were held on November 5, 1930.

Best Production:  All Quiet on the Western Front

  • Disraeli
  • The Big House
  • The Love Parade
  • The Divorcee

Most Surprising Omission:  Anna Christie

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  City Girl

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #76


My Top 10:

  1. City Lights


    Charlie Chaplin in the final, touching scene in City Lights

  2. Dracula
  3. The Three Penny Opera
  4. Le Million
  5. Earth
  6. The Public Enemy
  7. Waterloo Bridge
  8. The Front Page
  9. Little Caesar
  10. Woman in the Moon (more…)

My Top 10:


The final poignant moment in All Quiet on the Western Front

  1. All Quiet on the Western Front
  2. City Girl
  3. Arsenal
  4. Hell’s Angels
  5. The General Line
  6. Under the Roofs of Paris
  7. The Great Gabbo
  8. Anna Christie
  9. Blackmail
  10. Diary of a Lost Girl (more…)