Gale Sondergaard – The Life of Emile Zola
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with 5 ok nominees, but none of them clearly stand out among the rest and any of them could have conceivably have taken home Gold.
5. Anne Shirley
4. Andrea Leeds
3. Claire Trevor
2. May Whitty
1. Alice Brady
5. Stella Dallas – Stanwyck carries this film with her amazing performance but the story itself drags along way too much. The way they show the social climate in post World War I New England is interesting to view and they manage to give a nice platform for the main character to thrive. Her character arc works well and we get to see over the course of the years how she changes her opinions on things when the things most dear to her also begin to change. Stanwyck and Shirley were both nominated for Oscars for their roles here as Best Actress and Supporting Actress.
4. Stage Door – Another Best Picture nominee that probably doesn’t meet the requirements for truly being among the best of the best. Ironically (and sadly), some of the antics depicted here between producers and aspiring actresses is still relevant today more than 80 years later. Hepburn and Rogers are both fine here with Menjou playing the perfect executive. Nice seeing Ball and Arden in small roles.
3. In Old Chicago – Liked the way that the brotherly love is portrayed no matter what they would do to each other. The corruption of early Chicago definitely goes in sync with what has been historically proven ever since. Despite being a complete work of fiction, it was nice how they still incorporated some basic known facts about the history of the city and the great fire that happened in 1871. Great cast including Powell, Ameche and of course Brady as their mother.
2. Night Must Fall – Very interesting idea that feels a bit before its time. The story is quite predictable from the very start, but they still do a fine job moving the plot forward despite this fact. Montgomery does a wonderful job in the lead role which garnered him a Best Actor Nomination for the performance. The dialogue is expertly written and the story stays interesting the entire time despite the fact that it’s clear where things are leading the whole time.
1. Dead End – Interesting premise that just moves along a bit too slowly. The grittiness of the city is truly felt yet if it was made today, it would look more realistically gritty and downtrodden. The diverse characters work here because each of them have their own expectations and aspirations as to how to get out of the situation they all feel stuck in. Cast is quite good and it’s easy to see that Bogart had a future based on this role.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – I guess so! AB does a fine job here but any of the nominees could have been deserving winner since none are amazing.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!