Best Picture nominees:
All Quiet on the Western Front
The Big House
The Love Parade
What won: All Quiet on the Western Front
The second war drama to win this award, this set the precedent for many years to come. Many war dramas would go on to win the big one. Also, the Best Picture and Best Director combination is notable. With World War I only a little over a decade in the past, this serious piece was a powerhouse. The direction was superb as was the structure of each scene. The peaceful message of why is there war? is presented in so many ingenious ways throughout the entire movie. It is easy to see why this won.
What should have won: All Quiet on the Western Front
I said I wouldn't agree with the Academy often in my last culminating post, but I have to agree again. This movie is a true epic in many ways. It is epic in length, in emotion, and in historical significance. The gruesome battle scenes and the portrayal of the sub-par conditions that soldiers had to go through is heavy stuff and has stayed with me days after watching it. Not only that, but this is from the not-so-typical perspective of German soldiers, not from an American point of view.
My Best Picture nominee rankings:
1. The Divorcee (7/10)
2. All Quiet on the Western Front (7/10)
3. The Big House (7/10)
4. The Love Parade (6/10)
5. Disraeli (6/10)
My favorite movie of the third Oscar batch: The Divorcee
It might seem perplexing but I enjoyed The Divorcee (1930) more than the film I think should have won the award. When I am selecting the Best Picture winner, I try to be as objective as I can. Often, I can admit that my favorite is not the best. That is the case here. The Divorcee showcases Norma Shearer in an amazing performance, especially among the outdated styles of the late 1920s. The subject matter doesn't really hold up a candle to the tragedies of war, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of the relationships and interactions between Shearer and the men in her life.
Highest Rating on IMDb: All Quiet on the Western Front
No surprise here. Milestone's epic is definitely among the elite war dramas of the industry. It has a place in the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress and is considered the seventh-best "epic" in the American Film Institute's '10 Top 10.' The accolades are well deserved and the current score of 8.1 seems appropriate.