90 Days of Oscar Nominees #45 – Imitation of Life (1934)


In my attempt to have a more prolific repertoire of Oscar Nominated Films, I have taken it upon myself to watch 90 new Best Picture Nominees that I’ve never seen before between 5 Dec 2017 and The 90th Annual Oscars on 4 Mar 2018.

Here is my 45th review of the 90 chosen Films…

(HALF WAY MARK!!!!)

“Once a pancake, always a pancake” – Elmer Smith

Number of Times Seen – 1 (15 Jan 2018)

Brief Synopsis – A widow with a small daughter takes in a Black housekeeper and her daughter which changes the lives of all four of them.

My Take on it – This is a film that was made way before its time and when watching it, you are constantly reminded of that.

The storyline itself is so layered and there is so much that one can learn about the time and places that this story takes place in.

The cast is superb and they are able to easily show how prejudice was still quite prevalent at that time even if sometimes it wasn’t out in the open even on both sides of the spectrum.

The story itself deals with so much more than just racial relations because it also touches upon the individuality of women which was also just starting to take off at that time.

The story itself covers a vast number of years and I would have been happier if it had spent even more time at all of the time intervals yet it still is able to firmly get across its point even in shorter stops.

I’m actually a bit shocked that none of the actresses in this film were nominated for Awards that year for these roles eventhough Claudette Colbert had a really powerful year with It Happened One Night (1934) and Cleopatra (1934).

This also says so much about the thinking at the time about woman and Blacks even among the voters of the Academy.

Thankfully, there has been a lot of progress on those fronts in the 84 years since despite it still not being enough progress.

Bottom Line – Such an amazing film that is so layered and was truly made so much before its time. The cast is amazing and they manage to get across so much of the underlying racial prejudice in life from both sides of the spectrum.  Despite the story taking leaps and bounds when it comes to the timeline, it still works really well eventhough, I would have enjoyed it even more had they chosen to spend more time in each time period. A bit shocked that none of the four main actresses in this film weren’t nominated for anything but that also says so much about the thinking at the time. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Fredi Washington (Peola, Aged 19) was a light-skinned African-American. After playing this role, she was criticized by some in the black community who labored under the misconception that the actress herself practiced self-hatred and would rather ‘pass’ herself off as white. Ms. Washington was, in fact, an avid civil rights activist.  (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy

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5 thoughts on “90 Days of Oscar Nominees #45 – Imitation of Life (1934)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1934 |

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