Best Picture nominees:
Five Star Final
One Hour with You
The Smiling Lieutenant
What won: Grand Hotel
The all-star cast of MGM juggernauts all take part in an enthralling story of how various seemingly unrelated characters interact and affect the lives of each other. The only film in Academy history to win the top honors without being nominated for another award, this is a perfect example of a movie hitting all the bases but not excelling too much in a single area. This balanced approach is a mix of entertainment and artistic achievement. A worthy winner of the fifth Best Picture award.
What should have won: Shanghai Express
This is the first time I've gone back and forth with my decision on what I think should have won Best Picture. If I were to write this post next week, perhaps I would have selected Grand Hotel. However, the cinematography alone makes Shanghai Express stand out as the most artistic film of the Awards period.The early film noir feel to it gives this movie the extra pizzazz to surpass Grand Hotel. Express also received two more nominations on the night, winning only the Cinematography statuette. It might not have the lasting impact Hotel has with its all-star cast and famous line by Greta Garbo ("I want to be alone"), but Shanghai Express narrowly beats out Grand Hotel in my personal Best Picture race.
My Best Picture nominee ranking:
1. Shanghai Express (7/10)
2. Grand Hotel (7/10)
3. Five Star Final (7/10)
4. Bad Girl (6/10)
5. The Smiling Lieutenant (6/10)
6. The Champ (5/10)
7. One Hour with You (5/10)
8. Arrowsmith (5/10)
My favorite movie of the fifth Oscar batch: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
This exclusive winner (for Best Actor) is the true Best Actor winner. Fredric March beat out Wallace Beery by one vote but they tied on a technicality. I enjoyed the change of pace as horror movies don't typically get accolades from the Academy. The acting by March is phenomenal and the makeup on the Hyde character is amazing. The camerawork is also lively and groundbreaking. The movie starts from Dr. Jekyll's point of view as if the camera is his eyes! A far cry from the stagey movies in previous years.
Highest rating on IMDb: The Smiling Lieutenant
I have no idea why this achieves the highest rating on the database. One of many Ernst Lubitsch musicals that feature Maurice Chevalier, this movie doesn't stand out in any way. A 7.9 is a dramatic overrating of a movie that isn't terrible, but is definitely not the best of the eight Best Picture nominees and two Exclusive Award winners.