Welcome to Year Nine of the Best Picture discussion, concerning movies released in 1936!
The Academy fell flat on their collective faces this year, selecting the elephantine The Great Ziegfeld as Best Picture.
Here’s what I had to say about it in V. 1: “The Great Ziegfeld is one of the worst choices for Best Picture in the history of the Academy Awards. I love William Powell and Myrna Loy (even as Flo Ziegfeld and Billie Burke), and moments in this movie charm, but as one critic said at the time, The Great Ziegfeld was “an atrocious production…a picture false in biography, a glittering avalanche of legs and tinsel, a truer demonstration of the stupidity and rank barbarism of these times had never been more ably given.” Lavish budgets and overblown dance scenes do not a Best Picture make. The film is too long, at almost three hours with 23 songs. Too much of a not always good thing, and in a biopic, too much glossing over of the truth; the word “sanitized” comes to mind. The fun drains out of the picture as the hustler becomes the Great Man. Ray Bolger’s dance is the best of the movie; Fanny Brice has the best comic moments. We have to put up with blackface again. The Great Ziegfeld deserved neither Oscar nor nomination.”
But here’s what they ignored! My Man Godfrey, with the sparkling William Powell and Carole Lombard at their best! And Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers in one of their best, Swing Time! And perhaps the best Sinclair Lewis adaptation, with Walter Huston, Dodsworth! And Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times!
And people wonder why I get mad…
Just for the sake of completion, they also ignored Humphrey Bogart’s The Petrified Forest; Charles Laughton’s Rembrandt; Irene Dunne’s Theodora Goes Wild; James Whale’s Showboat, with Paul Robeson; John Ford’s The Prisoner of Shark Island; Fritz Lang’s Fury, with Spencer Tracy; Laurence Olivier’s As You Like It; Errol Flynn and The Charge of the Light Brigade; the science fiction classic, Things to Come; and William Powell & Myrna Loy’s After the Thin Man, with an original treatment by Dashiell Hammett!
As always, I have much more to say in my book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OPEELH0
Well, here’s your chance to tell the Academy what should have happened! Please vote: