Posts tagged “1928-1929

The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Director (1927/1928-1949)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Actress (1927/1928-1949)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Actor (1927/1928-1949)

This is part of a series of articles where I’m putting forth my opinions about what I’d nominate in all of the Oscar Quest categories (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress). Normally I take the categories as they are, but I thought it would be fun to figure out what I’d vote for if I had a ballot each year. Keep in mind, this is only for NOMINATIONS and nothing else.

My only problem with this is that I knew if I did it, too many people, were they doing the same thing, would put on movies that just didn’t belong on an Oscar ballot. (I would too, in some cases. We just like what we like.) My problem was that people would take this exercise as an opportunity to really just go off the rails with stuff (which, if you read through all these articles, you’ll see me call people out for it, since I know exactly which films and which performances people would put on). So my way around this was by creating what I call a “Compromise List” — after I tell you what was actually nominated and what I’d put on my ballot, I’m making a list whereby I try to make everyone happy and keep it mostly close to what would be there, Academy-wise. You’ll see. My lists usually end up being better and not crazy.

The things to take into account with the performance categories — I can only nominate what I’ve seen. So me not seeing something will be a big reason why some stuff doesn’t appear. And, as always, I tell people not to bother me with one random person in one random category, since I have everything to think about. If you want to say something, wait until you’ve seen all the films/tried this yourself before you do it. And I don’t care about foreign performances, for the most part. There’s a long and complicated answer there, but — I don’t. And the big rule for anyone doing this — if someone won a category, YOU CAN’T LEAVE THEM OFF THE COMPROMISE LIST. Can’t do it.

Otherwise — here’s the next set of categories. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: My Oscar Nominations — Best Picture (1927/1928-1949)

To run down the intro quickly — this is a series of articles about what I would nominate in every single Oscar Quest category if I had a ballot. I always felt I should do them, but didn’t want to pull that shit everyone pulls of, “Here’s what I’d nominate,” even though it’s all the same five films they add on and they haven’t even seen half the stuff that was nominated. I know my stuff’s legit, because I’ve seen all the films, but I refused to start this discussion unless I was going to do it with the ability to tell people how to do it the right way, since unless you keep them honest, it’s fucking chaos.

So I decided to, along with picking what I’d vote for, create what I’m calling a Compromise List. The Compromise List is — aside from my personal nominations (which on the whole are pretty close to what would fit the typical notion of “Oscar,” since I’ve seen everything and know what is and what isn’t an “Oscar” movie and actually respect the precedents in place even though I don’t always agree with them enough to not be like, “I vote for Star Trek!”), a list of films that are basically a mix of my nominees and their nominees that I think everyone could live with. The idea is to make a list that works for everyone that’s great, and to cut out all the shit that so clearly shouldn’t be there.

The things to keep in mind: 1) if a category has five nominees, I’m only nominating five films. 2) The lists are only based on what I’ve seen. 3) Don’t bother me with your opinion unless you’re gonna go the full nine and do every single year. 4) If you’re going to attempt something like this — be honest. Don’t get too subjective, and DO NOT take off a film you haven’t seen just to put on a film you have seen. And most importantly, 5) YOU CANNOT take off a Best Picture winner. You can not vote for it on your list, but on your compromise list, the Best Picture winner MUST BE THERE. If it won, you have to include it. No exceptions.

Okay, let’s get to the next set of Best Picture years: (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1928-1929

1928-1929 (which, for quick reference, use the year on the right side of the double years to know which year it’s really for) is the first really interesting year for the Oscars. The first one was just, “Let’s get this thing set up.” But now — now it’s a thing. Now there are now traditions to uphold and ideals to strive toward. That is — the first year was giving out awards. Now there are precedents. So you have the beginning of what will essentially be a trend that continues to this day, which is, do they vote with what’s best, or what fits in best with the Oscars? (Usually, it’s the latter.) 1928-1929 are the first years where films could be made with the goal of winning an Oscar. Which changes things.

The other reason this year is an interesting year is quite major, historically — sound. The industry as a whole was transitioning to sound. Several films have used the transition to sound as part of their narrative, the biggest probably being Singin’ in the Rain, with the whole “Talk into the plant!” thing. And then The Aviator hinted at it, with Hughes, after the premiere, saying he has to reshoot Hell’s Angels for sound. And then The Artist, of course, covering that period from a talent standpoint. This intro is basically going to be a history of the transition to sound, because I do like to educate as well as inform.

But what makes this period most interesting is that the transition to sound wasn’t this quick switchover . They had a lot of stuff to figure out, technologically. The entire industry was set up for silent films. And now, all of a sudden, they had to, on the fly, start making films with sound. Because that’s what the audiences wanted. And it was basically an experiment for like, four years, them figuring out how to successfully shoot films with sound. (This was even before learning how to tell a story with sound.) (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1928-1929

(Note: THIS CATEGORY IS NOT FINISHED. I still need to watch one of the nominees. I still have not been able to find Drag in any cheap/acceptable format. If anyone has it or knows where it can be procured, let me know, so this category can be finished.)

1928-1929 is the second year of the Oscars, one where there were no official nominees. They just mailed out ballots and whoever got the most votes won, and the unofficial nominees were the people who got the most votes. These were them for the Best Director category.

As for the rest of the year — The Broadway Melody wins Best Picture, because it was the film to best utilize the wonderful new technology called sound, Warner Baxter wins Best Actor for In Old Arizona (talked about here), quite possibly the least interesting or cared about category ever, and Mary Pickford wins Best Actress for Coquette (talked about here), which is a great historical decision that helped to legitimize the category. That’s it, really.

Remember, we’re working on a different set of rules for these categories than we would for contemporary ones. Though, even with the different set of rules, I really can’t understand this one. Not even a little bit. You just invented sound — why wouldn’t you give Best Director to a sound film? Or even if not, why would you give it to that film? (Though, admittedly, he was nominated three times, so maybe that had something to do with it.)

BEST DIRECTOR – 1928-1929

And the nominees were…

Lionel Barrymore, Madame X

Harry Beaumont, The Broadway Melody

Irving Cummings, In Old Arizona

Frank Lloyd, The Divine Lady & Drag & Weary River

Ernst Lubitsch, The Patriot (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1928-1929

(Note: THIS CATEGORY IS NOT FINISHED. I still need to watch one of the nominees. I still have not been able to find The Barker in any cheap/acceptable format. If anyone has it or knows where it can be procured, let me know, so this category can be finished.)

1928-1929 is a unique year in Oscar history. It’s the only year without any official Oscar nominees. Which means (I guess), everyone was sent a ballot, and just voted. And whoever won, won. Interesting way to do it. Then again, it is the second one. I guess they were seeing what worked.

The Broadway Melody wins Best Picture, mostly because it was the only film among the “nominees” (which is basically the set of films that got the most votes, I guess) that used sound the best. Frank Lloyd won Best Director for The Divine Lady, which I don’t much understand. Why they’d give a non-sound film Best Director is beyond me. And Best Actor was Warner Baxter for In Old Arizona (talked about here). The transition to sound made it tough to gauge performances, so we pretty much just ignore this decision. (Though, Baxter did do some good work in the 30s, so it actually kind of worked out.)

This category — pretty much a blank except — Mary Pickford was the biggest star in Hollywood from like, 1915 through this point. Her and Douglas Fairbanks were basically considered ambassadors from Hollywood to the world. So it makes perfect sense that they’d go and give her an Oscar. Again — you have to treat these categories differently from how things normally work nowadays, because here, it’s all about legitimizing the awards. They’re just getting started, and they want to award what they think is best. And who better to award than your biggest star?

BEST ACTRESS – 1928-1929

And the nominees were…

Ruth Chatterton, Madame X

Betty Compson, The Barker

Jeanne Eagels, The Letter

Corinne Griffith, The Divine Lady

Bessie Love, The Broadway Melody

Mary Pickford, Coquette (more…)