This is the big one. No other award in entertainment is more disputed or remembered than the Academy Award for the Best Picture of the year. And it is astonishing to look back at what films lost and what films were not even nominated. We will start at the beginning and work forward highlighting some egregious choices and more mind-boggling omissions.
1929- Broadway Melody- the field of possible contenders was very weak that year, but still this is the worst "Best Picture" winner of all time.
1930- All Quiet on the Western Front- great film
1931- Cimarron- Not a very good film. What should have won?
1932- Grand Hotel- Great film
1933- Cavalcade- Probably the second worst "Best Picture" winner. On Academy night Frank Capra mistakenly got up to receive an Oscar for best director when it was actually Frank Lloyd for this film. Well, wherever you are Capra you should have won both Best Director and Best Picture for Lady For A Day.
1934- It Happened One Night- Great film and Capra justly got his awards.
1935- Mutiny on the Bounty- Great film
1936- The Great Ziegfield- Good movie but Chaplin's Modern Times should have won.
1937- The Life of Emile Zola- Good but in retrospect Disney's first feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarves should have won for historical significance alone.
1938- You Can't Take It With You- Capra does it again.
1939- Gone With The Wind- considered the greatest year in film history there are multiple contenders that could have won Best Picture, including The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights, Gunga Din, Stagecoach, Destry Rides Again, and Mr. Smith Goes To Washington.
1940- Rebecca- Hitchcock's only Best Picture winner.
1941- How Green Was My Valley- Great film BUT the greatest film of all time should have won!
1942- Mrs. Miniver- Good but the statue should have gone to Sullivan's Travels or...
The Magnificent Ambersons
1943- Casablanca- Oscar really got this one right!
1944- Going My Way- Should have gone to either Meet Me In St. Louis or Double Indemnity.
1945- The Lost Weekend- Highly regarded but I think A Tree Grows In Brooklyn should have won.
1946- The Best Years of Our Lives- As previously discussed It's A Wonderful Life should have won and My Darling Clementine was another strong nominee.
1947- Gentlemen's Agreement- First Best Picture winner for director Elia Kazan
1948- Hamlet- Classic but the award should have gone to either Red River or The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
1949- All The King's Men
1950- All About Eve- A good flick to be sure but C'MON!!! Sunset Boulevard should have won or The Third Man which WAS NOT NOMINATED! Criminal!
1951- An American In Paris- Great, but I would have picked A Streetcar Named Desire
1952- The Greatest Show On Earth- This is one of the Academy's worst years. Not only is Demille's circus movie not that great, but films like High Noon and The Bad and the Beautiful were much better and worst of all the one that should have won was not even nominated! Are you kidding me?!!!
Singin' In The Rain
1953- From Here To Eternity- Great film but I could easily switch it with Shane.
1954- On The Waterfront- Elia Kazan's second Best Picture is an excellent film but I could easily give the award to Hitchcock's Rear Window.
1955- Marty- Another huge black eye for the Academy. The Award could have gone to either James Dean film, East of Eden or Rebel Without A Cause but in my book it should have gone to another un-nominated masterpiece!
Night of the Hunter
1956- Around The World In 80 Days- NO!NO!NOOO! Why are these Academy voters so clueless? Again one of the greatest films of all time (go back and read my blog entry on the Greatest Films) not nominated...
1957- The Bridge on the River Kwai- David Lean's first Best Picture.
1958- Gigi- Remember what I said about the 50s in my Best Actor category? These voters were zombies. Yes, Gigi was the last great MGM musical BUT not to even nominate Touch of Evil or ANOTHER of the "Greatest films" and Hitchcock's masterpiece....
1959- Ben-Hur- Too late to redeem themselves but at least the Academy ended the decade by getting it right!
Next I will tackle the 60s forward.