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biast | by maryann johanson

Oscar Best Picture winners 1927/28–1949







Best Motion Picture 1949: All the King’s Men


Down to its shocker of an ending, the political drama-thriller All the King’s Men is very contemporary, as fresh today as it was half a century ago. Read the review…




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Best Motion Picture 1948: Hamlet


Unmistakably filmic: with its monologues recast as internal thoughts heard in hushed voiceovers and use of dizzying camerawork to show its antihero’s inner turmoil, this Hamlet could never have worked on stage. Read the review…




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Best Motion Picture 1947: Gentleman’s Agreement


Gentleman’s Agreement may be a trifle too earnest at times, but it’s obvious that screenwriter Moss Hart and director Elia Kazan felt strongly about their subject. Read the review…




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Best Motion Picture 1946: The Best Years of Our Lives


The Best Years of Our Lives is the very best kind of soap opera, detailing the problems and heartaches of people we come instantly to care about. Read the review…




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Best Motion Picture 1945: The Lost Weekend


As horrifying in its own way as Trainspotting (though less graphic), The Lost Weekend turns a searing gaze on one man’s nightmare and won’t let him — or us — wake up. Read the review…




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Best Motion Picture 1944: Going My Way


If Going My Way, a delightful movie confection, were remade today, it would end up as a sticky Hallmark Hall of Fame thing. Read the review…




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Outstanding Motion Picture 1943: Casablanca


Casablanca is the ultimate movie. This is the purpose for which Hollywood invented itself. This is how good a film can be. Read the review…




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Outstanding Motion Picture 1942: Mrs. Miniver


Mrs. Miniver is a strikingly unsentimental account of the theft of England’s innocence in the early days of World War II. Read the review…




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Outstanding Motion Picture 1941: How Green Was My Valley


Moving and touching, How Green Was My Valley is a classic coming-of-age story set in Welsh coal-mining country. Read the review…




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Outstanding Production 1940: Rebecca


Atmospheric and moody, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca is a masterpiece of style and substance, an extended meditation on how the dead haunt the living. Read the review…




  




Outstanding Production 1939: Gone with the Wind


In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) travels the classic hero’s journey, which fiction rarely allows a woman to experience. Read the review…




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Outstanding Production 1938: You Can’t Take It with You


Frank Capra’s loving and wacky paean to nonconformity, You Can’t Take It with You may be full of over-the-top comedy, but the moral of the story is a serious one. Read the review…




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Outstanding Production 1937: The Life of Emile Zola


Despite the film’s good performances all around, the shifting focus of The Life of Emile Zola tends to make it a frustrating experience for modern viewers. Read the review…




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Outstanding Production 1936: The Great Ziegfeld


The Great Ziegfeld is a moving story of how the weaknesses and obsessions that ironically made one man a powerful entertainment mogul inevitably brought about his downfall. Read the review…




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Outstanding Production 1935: Mutiny on the Bounty


Mutiny on the Bounty’s influence on film shows up in contemporary maritime stories like The Hunt for Red October and Crimson Tide, and the slave uprising in Amistad is directly descended from Bounty’s electrifying mutiny scene. Read the review…




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Outstanding Production 1934: It Happened One Night


The ultimate dizzy, romantic, screwball comedy, It Happened One Night is not to be missed. Read the review…




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Outstanding Production 1932/33: Cavalcade


Cavalcade, its characters swept along helplessly in history’s wake, reminds us that complaining about change has been the defining motif of the 20th century. Read the review…



  

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Outstanding Production 1931/32: Grand Hotel


Grand Hotel is all very silly, the ultimate in Depression-era escapism: a piece of Hollywood magic that’s impossibly romantic filled with people who are impossibly elegant, bantering and wisecracking constantly. Read the review…




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Outstanding Production 1930/31: Cimarron


Politically correct Cimarron is not, but get past the occasionally dated feel and you’ll find a cracking yarn that is bold and memorable. Read the review…




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Outstanding Production 1929/30: All Quiet on the Western Front


From a contemporary point of view, All Quiet on the Western Front is more ironic than its makers could have intended. Read the review…




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Outstanding Picture 1928/29: The Broadway Melody


The Broadway Melody’s snarky, wiseacre humor and effervescent charm save it from being completely dated, though the dance production numbers — pure padding, all — may try your patience. Read the review…




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Outstanding Picture 1927/28: Wings


Anyone who doubts that silent films can be just as engrossing as those newfangled “talkies” needs to see Wings, an early buddies-go-to-war story that still echoes in today’s movies. Read the review…




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The first Academy Awards were handed out on May 16th, 1929. There are no earlier winners.




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