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…)

Jean Gabin and Marcel Dalio escape the war in The Grand Illusion (1937, eligible in 1938).

Jean Gabin and Marcel Dalio escape the war in The Grand Illusion (1937, eligible in 1938).

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.  The Academy added one category this year – splitting Score into Score and Original Score, though they are vague over what the precise difference is.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Grand Illusion
  2. The Adventures of Robin Hood
  3. Bringing Up Baby
  4. Pygmalion
  5. You Can’t Take It With You


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…)

The whole ensemble from You Can't Take It With You (1938)

The 11th Academy Awards, for the film year 1938.  The nominations were announced on February 5, 1939 and the awards were held on February 23, 1939.

Best Picture:  You Can’t Take It With You

  • The Grand Illusion
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Pygmalion
  • The Citadel
  • Jezebel
  • Test Pilot
  • Four Daughters
  • Alexander’s Ragtime Band
  • Boys Town

Most Surprising Omission:  Angels with Dirty Faces

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Bringing Up Baby

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #70 (more…)

My Top 10:

Grand Illusion - Renoir's brilliant masterpiece

  1. Grand Illusion
  2. The Adventures of Robin Hood
  3. Bringing Up Baby
  4. You Can’t Take It With You
  5. Pygmalion
  6. Angels with Dirty Faces
  7. Merrily We Live
  8. Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife
  9. The Citadel
  10. Of Human Hearts (more…)