This is one of the exciting years. You see, I assume that most people aren’t familiar with the Oscars. Why would you? That’s what I’m here for. And even if someone does have some knowledge about the categories, like who won Best Supporting Actress in 1985 (Anjelica Huston), I can be pretty certain that there’s an even smaller percentage of those people who really know about the 1927-1933 years. Again, why would you?
1930-1931 is kind of the second real definitive Oscar year. That is, the first year was Wings, and that was an establishing year. Then the second year was a mess, because they were dealing with shifting over to sound, so The Broadway Melody won, since it was the biggest film that used sound the best. Then 1929-1930 was All Quiet on the Western Front. That was the real first year where they chose an “Academy” decision. That film is just wonderfully made. And this year, Cimarron won Best Picture, which is an epic western, based on a bestselling novel — a prestige picture. Of course it was going to win. It’s a pretty good film. I personally prefer the film that won Best Director this year, Skippy. Norman Taurog directed the hell out of it, and I’ll further discuss my love for the film shortly.
The other award this year that wasn’t this one (remember, no Supporting categories until 1936) was Marie Dressler winning Best Actress for Min and Bill. This decision makes a lot of sense, because Min Dressler, at age 62, was the biggest star in Hollywood at the time. Her winning Best Actress was a way of validating the category. The same thing happened in this category. Lionel Barrymore was, at this time, what Laurence Olivier was in the 50s. Which is why, no matter how I feel about who should have won, this decision ultimately was the right one.
BEST ACTOR – 1930-1931
And the nominees were…
Lionel Barrymore, A Free Soul
Jackie Cooper, Skippy
Richard Dix, Cimarron
Frederic March, The Royal Family of Broadway
Adolphe Menjou, The Front Page (more…)