31 Days of Oscar 2014

For all intents and purposes 31 Days of Oscar, for me, has been snowed out this year. What I mean by this is that there were many demands on my concentration between script rewrites, home renovations, the Winter Olympics and the like it was hard to get any momentum built up. In fact, there were but a few sporadic viewings and one marathon day before my writing of this. As meager as these viewings are they still merit writing about in a post here since there were not enough to generate multiple posts this year. If there are other viewings before 3/3 I will add them here.

Wuthering Heights (1939)

Wuthering Heights (1939, Samuel Goldwyn)

There’s something to be said for one’s first exposure to a story. As hard as it is to believe I’d never seen any rendition of this tale. I can’t put my finger on the reason why, but I’m glad to have seen it now. It’s a truly great tragic romance with allusions to a ghost story.

Wins/Nominations: 1/8

Gate of Hell (1953)

Gate of Hell (1953, Criterion)

As seems to be the case with a lot films set in feudal Japan, it did take a few minutes to get my footing and keep names and clans orderly in my mind. When I had my bearings it did become a very touching and involving film that is fairly universal and requires minimal existing knowledge of Japanese custom and history. Most of what you need is found within the story. It’s worth noting this film won the color costuming award and won a special award for foreign films and was one of the titles that lead the way to a full category being added.

Wins/Nominations: 2/2

Closely Watched Trains (1966)

Closely Watched Trains (1966, Janus Films)

This film is very much a New Wave film, this one coming from the Czech New Wave. The prior film I had seen from it can be found here. The story here is fairly straight-forward in narrative if not structural terms and combines a coming-of-age element with the backdrop of World War II. It’s a decent tale but not one that will likely stick with me for very long. Maybe it’s just not my cup of tea or the novelty of the Wave isn’t novel to me anymore, though I do like the approach.

Wins/Nominations: 1/1

Ninotchka (1939)

Ninotchka (1939, MGM)

This was a film a professor of mine suggested to me in school as the Garbo film he liked and also as a good intro to Lubitsch, I believe. I’m not sure why it took me so long to follow this advice, as he never steered me wrong, but I finally saw it and am very glad I did. It’s quite a charming story and a good time.

Wins/Nominations: 0/4

Three Smart Girls (1936)

Three Smart Girls (1936, Universal)

In watching films grouped together by the sole fact that they were nominated for Oscars you will inevitably watch a little differently. In many viewings I would try to start guessing (if not already told) what a film was nominated in. I say this because on the rare occasion you don’t really get it. With this film I didn’t at all. Save for the sound recording nomination. I refuse to merely attribute it to the film not aging well, because the dated argument is a substitute for thought. I’d have to research and watch more, but in an age with myriad musical romantic comedies this one, that I didn’t even care for, was a Best Picture nominee baffles me.

Nominations/Wins: 0/3

Totals

Films: 5
Wins: 4
Nominations: 18

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