Did They Get it Right? – Best Picture – Oscars 1939

dtgirbp-1939Here are the ten nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Dark Victory
Gone With the Wind
Goodbye Mr. Chips
Love Affair
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Of Mice and Men
The Wizard of Oz
Wuthering Heights

Biggest Snub:

Young Mr. Lincoln

My Overall Thoughts:

1939 has one of the best classes of Oscar nominees.  I’ve only seen half of the ten films, but based on what I’ve heard, the others are also great. (two are based on classic novels).

The eventual winner is still condisidered today to be such an iconic film so it’s hard to argue that any of the other amazing films are better despite them being so great.

My Rankings:


(As of now, I have seen each and every Oscar nominated film from 1946 thru the present.  Starting with 1945’s nominees, there are movies that I have yet to see, so I will only rank the films that I’ve seen so far and will update as I see the missing films.)


  • 10.- Dark Victory
  • 9.- Love Affair
  • 8.- Of Mice and Men
  • 7.- Wuthering Heights


  • 6. – Ninotchka – Not your typical screwball comedy of the 30’s because its extremely political and tries to inadvertantly show the problems of communism in a light hearted away.  Some of the communist lifestyle jokes will make you chuckle but the story as a whole is quite weak. Garbo isn’t at her best as a comedienne and she and Douglas lack real onscreen chemistry together.
  • 5. – Stagecoach – One of John Ford’s earliest Westerns that is seen as one of the best in the genre. Loved the way they introduce all of the diverse characters and show how they each need to deal with one another during this dangerous and uncertain journey. Wayne is pretty good here despite showing his youthfulness in one of his most famous genres. There is so much going on here on multiple levels and it’s easy to interpret so many things in numerous ways which makes the story even more fascinating to watch unfold.
  • 4. – The Wizard of Oz – Classic film that just about everyone knows about. Was quite innovative in its time and helped make a star of Garland.  The message of the film and its themes remain poignant even now.
  • 3. – Goodbye Mr. Chips – Donat is superb here and really deserved his Best Actor award for playing the title character. This film has inspired so many others ever since in the way they tell a life story in the right way.  Still remains one of the best films about the life and rewards of teaching.
  • 2. – Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – A true classic about how the American political system works (and doesn’t work). Capra really found a way to show the people how even the little people can enact change in the “system”. Very interesting how it seems that little has changed when dealing with congressional corruption in the 78 years since this came out.  This is one of the movies that made me very interested in the US political system.
  • 1. – Gone With the Wind – Brilliant but over-long film. Understandable why so many love this movie. Very deserving of its 8 Oscar wins. The fact remains, though, that they achieved the Epic love story that they set out to make, and for that this movie gets a lot of credit because in achieving that goal, it changed the face of movies forever. When this movie came out in 1939, no one had seen or even conceived of seeing something like this onscreen, and all you movie lovers like me out there can be thankful that it did because without this near masterpiece we would all be bored with no movies to watch.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely Yes! There is no denying that GWTW is one of the best films ever made and was deserving of the win this year, but it was a tough year since there were so many other amazing films nominated along with it.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!


4 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Picture – Oscars 1939

  1. What a year! I have a complicated relationship with Gone with the Wind. It’s glorification of the south, slavery and the marital rape bother me but it’s epic qualities hold up and I have fond memories of watching it with my Grandma.
    I love Mr Smith, Stage Coach and Wuthering Heights but I think I’d go with Wizard of Oz. For my money it and Mary Poppins are the greatest live action family films ever made


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