Best Picture nominees:
What won: Wings
A reason often cited for why this film won over the other two is the country's fascination for aviation in the wake of Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight. Wings was also a technical achievement. The dogfights in this film are top notch and even by today's standards look very convincing and are very entertaining.
What should have won: 7th Heaven
The best movie of the three is 7th Heaven. The acting is better, the directing is better, and the cinematography is better. The Academy agrees with most of this as this film won for Best Actress, Best Director (Drama), and Best Writing (Adapted). Janet Gaynor puts on her best performance of the three films she won for these Awards. Frank Borzage improves the play this film was based off of with some excellent cinematic techniques. In almost every respect, 7th Heaven is better than Wings. Also, at a time in which the Academy was formed to protect the film industry from religious and governmental groups, a movie with religious themes and no scenes involving drunk characters (the other two nominees feature this) would have been a good poster child for Hollywood. I am quite surprised this did not happen.
My Best Picture nominee rankings:
1. 7th Heaven (8/10)
2. Wings (7/10)
3. The Racket (6/10)
My favorite movie of the first Oscar batch: The Last Command
Since I also watched what I call "Exclusive Award Winners," or films that won one of the major awards without being nominated for Best Picture, I would like to select what I think was the best overall film of the year. My selection for the 1927-1928 span is The Last Command (1928), which won for Best Actor (Emil Jannings) and was nominated for nothing else. However, I found it very difficult to negatively critique it when writing my initial review. I still cannot as the story was so fascinating along with the phenomenal acting by Jannings. The 88 minutes fly by as the plot takes place in 1917 Russia and 1928 Hollywood. This gem simply cannot be missed.
Highest Rating on IMDb: Sunrise
I also want to comment on the highest rated movie from each Oscar batch. The winner for Most Unique and Artistic Production, along with Best Actress and Cinematography, Sunrise is the most innovative and important film of this time. The cinematic techniques are not only fun to watch, but have influenced the medium of film ever since. Superimposing and cleverly edited sequences are just a few marvels prominent in Sunrise. Tied with 7th Heaven for most Oscars with three wins on the night, this movie is also a must-see.