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…)

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…)

Grand Hotel won Best Picture in 1932 without nominations for either John Barrymore or Greta Garbo.

The 5th Academy Awards, for the film year of August 1, 1931 to July 31, 1932.  The nominations were announced on October 12, 1932 and the ceremony was held on November 18, 1932.

Best Picture:  Grand Hotel

  • Five Star Final
  • Shanghai Express
  • Arrowsmith
  • Bad Girl
  • One Hour With You
  • The Smiling Lieutenant
  • The Champ

Most Surprising Omission:  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Scarface

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #80


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


My Top 10:


Paul Muni as Tony, the crazed gangster and Ann Dvorak as his sister in Scarface

  1. Scarface
  2. Vampyr
  3. Frankenstein
  4. A Nous la Liberte
  5. Horse Feathers
  6. Freaks
  7. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
  8. Wooden Crosses
  9. What Price Hollywood
  10. Grand Hotel (more…)

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…)