The Oscars have announced that there'll again be ten nominees for best picture instead of five. The last movie to beat out nine competitors was Casablanca in 1943. I thought I'd revisit the nominees from 1939 which is often said to be Hollywood's best year. The winner was Gone With the Wind, but here are the runners-up:
Wizard of Oz--even more iconic than GWTW.
Love Affair--Irene Dunne/Charles Boyer in a fine comedy-drama that was remade as An Affair to Remember.
Goodbye Mr. Chips--there'll always be sentimental movies about teachers, and they'll always be welcomed.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington--second pairing of James Stewart with director Frank Capra; It's a Wonderful Life was seven years later.
Ninotchka--Garbo gets the Lubitsch touch with a strong supporting cast: Melvyn Douglas, Sig Ruman, Felix Bressart, Bela Lugosi.
Of Mice and Men--much admired filming of Steinbeck's sure-fire book.
Stagecoach--John Wayne's breakout film under John Ford's expert direction is perfect…until the ending.
Wuthering Heights--I hear women like it.
Dark Victory--Bette Davis in a fine soaper; she lost the best actress award to Vivien Leigh.
Ten true contenders. I'd rather see any of them than such recent Oscar winners as Braveheart, Titanic, or Return of the King, but that's just me...and maybe you, too.