Best Picture nominees:
The Broadway Melody
The Hollywood Revue of 1929
In Old Arizona
What won: The Broadway Melody
With the novelty of sound pictures still very much alive during these years, this film seems like a no brainer. A plot focused on the very popular variety-type stage shows on Broadway let people not only hear the actors converse, but sing throughout. Songs were even incorporated as a plot driver for the first time in film. Musicals have come a long way since, but this movie plants the seeds in a very competent way.
What should have won: The Broadway Melody
It will be interesting to see how many times this happens - that I agree with the Academy's selection. With hindsight, I am attempting to pick the very best film of the selected nominees for this project. Sometimes, it seems the Academy picks their winner based on historical significance or other criteria not based on the quality of the film itself. However, I think this is a time where historical significance and the best film align properly. The plot is engaging, the music isn't terrible, and the samples of the stage performances are entertaining. However, I think I would be singing a different tune if I had seen Ernst Lubitsch's lost film, The Patriot. I would take a late silent film over an early talkie any day of the week.
My Best Picture nominee rankings:
1. The Broadway Melody (6/10)
2. Alibi (5/10)
3. The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (5/10)
4. In Old Arizona (4/10)
The Patriot is considered "lost"