Did They Get it Right? – Best Picture – Oscars 1934

dtgirbp-1934Here are the twelve nominees: (Winner in Bold)

The Barretts of Wimpole Street
Flirtation Walk
The Gay Divorcee
Here Comes the Navy
The House of Rothschild
Imitation of Life
It Happened One Night
One Night of Love
The Thin Man
Viva Villa!
The White Parade

Biggest Snub:

The Lost Patrol

My Overall Thoughts:

It Happened One Night became the first film to ever win all 5 top Oscar Awards (Picture, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenplay) and that would only happen two more times in the next 80 years (as of 2016), so despite it not ageing so well, it apparently was a very loved film at the time.


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.)

Updated 3 Jan ’18 – Watched Cleopatra, Here Comes the Navy, The House of Rothschild

  • 12.- The Barretts of Wimpole Street
  • 11.- The White Parade
  • 10.- The Gay Divorcee
  • 9.- Imitation of Life
  • 8. -One Night of Love
  • 7. – Viva Villa!


  • 6. – Here Comes the Navy – Story works ok despite feeling like something that has been done so often. Cagney, O’Brien and Stuart are all fine here but none really stand out enough. Was quite interesting watching things happen aboard The Arizona especially knowing of its fate just a few years later. Again, not a film that deserves to be listed among the best of the best IMHO.
  • 5. – Flirtation Walk – Fun film that feels a bit rushed but still works. The music is great along with the production of the songs and the dialogue helps keep things interesting the whole time. The verbal debates between Powell and Keeler are quite interesting to watch.  Quite interesting to see how Pearl Harbor and West Point were viewed prior to the events that brought the US into World War II.
  • 4. – Cleopatra – Nice production of the long story of Cleopatra’s alliances and relationships with both men of power in Rome. The story works quite well and we believe the political and romantic alliances as we get to see rulers who want power over everything that they can. Colbert is great in the title role. It’s best not to compare this to the lavish production made almost 30 years later because both are great in their own eras based solely on the possibilities at the time.
  • 3. – It Happened One Night – Very good screwball rom-com, just doesn’t really age well.  Gable, and Colbert are both excellent here
  • 2. – The House of Rothschild – Great film that really shows things from a very interesting perspective that is not usually shown in film. The dialogue is crisp and superbly written and shed light on themes about prejudice and is filled with self depreciating humor in some instances. Arliss is superb in the title role(s) and plays father and son equally well to give us a great perspective on the events of the story and how they affect the lives then and even today. The fact that this film came out just as Hitler came to power shows how things in the world can change so quickly especially when there is no one to speak out against injustices.
  • 1. –  The Thin Man – Powell and Loy are great together and their banter makes this film so much fun.  The mystery is done quite well and they do an amazing job keeping us guessing the whole way through.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No! I can understand how IHON could win this top award and also be the first (of only 3) film(s) to win the top 5 Oscars.  The film doesn’t hold up as well today as it probably did back then.  Having not seen most of these films, I can’t claim yet to know whether there are many others that are better than this one.

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


One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Picture – Oscars 1934

  1. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any of these except Imitation of Life, which I just saw for my Blindspot this month. It was quite good, and while I’m not sure how it compares with the two you have seen, it’s definitely worth the watch.


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