Monday, February 26, 2007

It was a very good year

1939 is undoubtedly the most celebrated year in American film history - the year produced more outstanding films than any other 12-month period. It was bound to be difficult for the Academy to nominate or honor all the rich, outstanding films of the year.

All the Best Picture nominated films were exceptional and unforgettable:

  • director Edmund Goulding's Dark Victory (with three nominations and no wins) about a young heiress who is slowly dying of a brain tumor and ultimately accepts her death in noble fashion
  • director Sam Wood's Goodbye, Mr. Chips (with seven nominations and one win - Best Actor), a version of James Hilton's novel about a beloved Latin teacher/schoolmaster at an English public school (the Brookfield School for Boys)
  • director Leo McCarey's tearjerker Love Affair (with five nominations and no wins) - that he later remade as An Affair to Remember (1957) - about two lovers who promise to meet atop the Empire State Building
  • director Ernst Lubitsch's delightful romantic comedy Ninotchka (with four nominations and no wins) about a cold Soviet official sent to Paris
  • director Lewis Milestone's adaptation of the classic John Steinbeck tragedy Of Mice and Men (with five nominations and no wins)
  • director John Ford's version of Ernest Haycox's story Stage to Lordsburg, Stagecoach (with seven nominations and two wins - Best Supporting Actor and Best Score) - the director's first film with star John Wayne - about a stagecoach journey by a varied group of characters
  • director Victor Fleming's perennial favorite - the beloved fantasy film about a Kansas farm girl who journeys to a brightly colored world in The Wizard of Oz (with six nominations and only two wins - Best Song Over the Rainbow (almost cut from the film by MGM executives) and Best Original Score)
  • director William Wyler's best film version of Emily Bronte's romantic novel about doomed lovers in Wuthering Heights (with eight nominations and only one win - Best Black and White Cinematography by Gregg Toland)
  • director Frank Capra's film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (with eleven nominations and only one win - Best Original story) of Lewis Foster's story about a naive and innocent junior Senator

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