Academy Award History, Part Seven: 1938-1939

Academy Award History, Part Seven: 1938-1939

Can't Take it with the WindFollowing the back to back awards for biopics, the Academy moved to the world of adaptation. Hollywood, and the film industry in general, was no stranger to adaptation, but prior to 1937, the only adapted films to win Outstanding Production were based on little-known short stories or forgettable novels (e.g. It Happened One Night, Cavalcade). But with the next two winners, the Academy went with two Pulitzer Prize-winning works, one a long-running Broadway hit, the other a best-selling novel. Both films were popular with audiences and critics, both boasted star-studded casts and talented directors, but time has been far kinder to one of them than it has the other. Read more

Academy Award History, Part Four: 1931-1933

Academy Award History, Part Four: 1931-1933

Grand+HotelIn 1932, the Academy followed up All Quiet on the Western Front and Cimarron with the star-studded Grand Hotel. The film was a big budget, heavily promoted all-star showcase. For Greta Garbo, the Barrymore brothers—John and Lionel, Wallace Beery, future humanitarian Jean Hersholt, and up-and-coming star Joan Crawford to all appear in the same film was unheard of. But they did and it worked. From the opening telephone booth scene and the glorious bird’s eye view matte shot (above) through the rags to riches ending for (Lionel) Barrymore’s ailing accountant and Crawford’s struggling stenographer, the film attempts and succeeds at pulling together multiple storylines.

Read more