Continuing our look at good films that were not nominated for best picture, here are 6 films from the 1930s.
Frankenstein (1931, dir by James Whale)
Henry Frankenstein may have created life and revolutionized the horror genre but his creation got absolutely no love from the Academy. Starting a very long history of snubbing successful horror films, the Academy failed to nominate Frankenstein for Best Picture. Not even Boris Karloff got a nomination! Fortunately, the public recognized what the Academy failed to see and Frankenstein remains a classic film.
Scarface (1932, dir by Howard Hawks)
Gangster films may have been all the rage with the public in the 1930s but the Academy felt different. Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, and Scarface may have excited audiences but none of them received much love from the Academy. It was hard to decide which gangster film to specifically use for this post. In the end, I went with Scarface because of George Raft and his sexy way with a coin.
King Kong (1933, directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack)
King Kong thrilled audiences, impressed critics, made a ton of money, and has gone on to influence just about every monster film made since. It received zero Oscar nominations.
My Man Godfrey (1936, dir by Gregory La Cava)
My Man Godfrey, one of the best of the screwball comedies of the 1930s, received a total of 6 Oscar nominations. It was nominated in all four of the acting categories. It was nominated for best screenplay. It was nominated for best director. However, it was not nominated for Best Picture. (My Man Godfrey is the first and, as of this writing, only film to receive four acting nominations without also receiving a nomination for best picture.) Best Picture that year would go to The Great Ziegfield, which, like My Man Godfrey, starred William Powell.
Bringing Up Baby (1938, dir by Howard Hawks)
My Man Godfrey was not the only screwball comedy to be ignored by the Academy. Bringing Up Baby features Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn at their best. It also features an absolutely adorable leopard. Somehow, it was not nominated for best picture.
The Women (1939, dir by George Cukor)
The competition was fierce in 1939. If you want to know why 1939 is considered to be one of the best years in Academy History, just consider the ten films that actually were nominated for best picture: Dark Victory, Gone With The Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, and Wuthering Heights. Amazingly, even with that list of nominees, some equally good film went unnominated. One of those films was The Women.
Based on Clare Boothe Luce’s play, The Women features a witty script, assured direction from George Cukor, and an amazing talented, all-female ensemble cast. Though the competition was undeniably fierce in 1939, it’s still a shock that this film received not a single nomination.
Up next, in about an hour or so, the 1940s!