The Oscar Project 1937: The Life of Emile Zola

I’d never seen a Paul Muni movie before. My only knowledge of his work was that he was in the original Scarface film five years prior to The Life of Emile Zola. Within five minutes he had me mesmerized. His acting must have been absolutely revolutionary for the time. It is naturalistic, subtle and nuanced. … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1937: The Life of Emile Zola

The Oscar Project 1936: The Great Ziegfeld

I didn’t know much about Ziegfeld except for the fact he’d done some kind of “follies.” The Great Ziegfeld is by far the longest winner yet clocking in at 3 hours and 5 minutes*. So it figured I’d have a lot to learn from this picture. Such as what exactly is a folly? After the … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1936: The Great Ziegfeld

The Oscar Project 1935: Mutiny on the Bounty

Right from the beginning Mutiny on the Bounty feels like a big, sweeping epic. Hoist the mainsail! Scuttle the jib! Avast and such! The magnificence of the HMS Bounty (albeit a small ship) would make anyone want to set sail for king and country. Using a mix of location sailing and process shots director Frank … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1935: Mutiny on the Bounty

The Oscar Project 1934: It Happened One Night

It Happened One Night was the first of the best picture winners that I’d seen before. It had been a few years since my last viewing but after watching the previous six winners I was immediately struck with how absolutely special this film was and still is. It’s the original buddy road picture. The Blues … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1934: It Happened One Night

The Oscar Project 1933: Cavalcade

The story begins as a wealthy British couple, the Marryots, and their live-in help, the Bridges, celebrate New Years’ Eve 1899 ringing in the 20th century. Robert Marryot (Clive Brook) and their chief servant Alfred Bridges (Herbert Mundin) are about to head off to fight in the war. This time it isn’t WWI but rather … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1933: Cavalcade

The Oscar Project 1932: Grand Hotel

Five years into The Oscar Project and it feels like I’m starting to see a shift. The first 4 celebrated grandeur and spectacle, whether than was with visual wonder or, in the case of The Broadway Melody, the wonder of a movie musical. Grand Hotel doesn’t rely on either of those as the entire film … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1932: Grand Hotel

The Oscar Project 1931: Cimarron

Still in the early days of the Oscars every time a movie wins it becomes the first of something or other. Cimarron is no exception. It was the first... RKO film to win best picture To receive more than 6 nominations To be nominated for the “Big Five” (picture, director, actor, actress and screenplay) To … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1931: Cimarron

The Oscar Project 1930: All Quiet on the Western Front

Directed by Lewis Milestone Starring: Lew Ayres and Louis Wolheim (Yup... Lewis, Lew and Louis) This is the first of the Oscar Project films that I had seen at least part of before. I started watching it on TV but didn’t pay much attention to it. I knew the end but otherwise it felt completely new. … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1930: All Quiet on the Western Front

The Oscar Project 1929: The Broadway Melody

The novelty of “talkies” was so new that any kind of singing and dancing with dialogue must have been enough of an attraction to make a movie like The Broadway Melody a hit. It tells the story of a Broadway songsmith who brings his fiancée and her younger sister to Manhattan to help them get … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1929: The Broadway Melody

The Oscar Project 1928: Wings

I didn’t know anything about Wings except it was the first best picture winner in 1928. I didn’t even know it was a silent film until I started watching it. I’ve seen silent films before so it wasn’t alarming but the silent films I’d seen were much older than Wings. Not only was it the … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1928: Wings