One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Jack Nicholson is one of the greatest actors to ever grace the silver screen. There’s no question about it. He’s done so much great work for so long it’s sometimes hard to believe one actor could be that impressive so frequently. So what was his greatest role of his legendary career? You could argue J.J. … Continue reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

The Godfather

The Oscar Project has reached the exact halfway point. There were 44 best picture winners before The Godfather and there have been 44 best picture winners since The Godfather. I couldn't be more pleased that this film currently sits at the center of Oscar history. There have been countless books and articles written, and documentaries … Continue reading The Godfather

Going My Way

The theme of the world war and its major players had been central to several best picture nominees over the previous 4 years. The Great Dictator Sergeant York Miniver The Invaders Wake Island Casablanca In Which We Serve Watch on the Rhine By 1944 World War II was winding down. After the Allies’ victory at … Continue reading Going My Way

The Oscar Project 1941: How Green Was My Valley

The first thing I wrote when taking notes during this film was... “OK movie... let’s see what you’ve got” For at least 50 years How Green Was My Valley has been the legendary “HUH?” of best picture winners for one reason and one reason only...the other nominees. Of the 10 films nominated for best picture … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1941: How Green Was My Valley

The Oscar Project 1938: You Can’t Take it With You

I’ve seen You Can’t Take it With You both on the stage and the screen. The stage version actually featured my brother-in-law Donavan as Donald, a volunteer handyman for the Sycamores. It’s a quirky original that influenced many a film over the years, quite a few by Wes Anderson. What makes this film pop is … Continue reading The Oscar Project 1938: You Can’t Take it With You

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