What’s Your Favorite 1939 Best Picture Oscar Nominee?

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  • graham bryant




    • garykevinware

      I agree, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) is my favorite film of all-time.

  • Nick Z.

    It’s tough to vote for a winner in 1939. I love all of the movies on your list. You left of George Cukor’s The Women – scathingly brilliant comedy, and Another Thin Man – probably one of the best William Powell/Myrna Loy teamings ever!

    • Wayne P.

      Good pick to remember “The Women” … now, my list above is up to 31 great pics and apparently counting…if only this blog would hurry up and moderate it for posting as just to think that more than 1 movie made every other week that year was an undeniable classic for the ages and worthy of Oscar consideration at that or any other time!

      • Wayne P.

        Wuthering Heights, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Gunga Din, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, Ninotchka, The Private Lives of Elizabeth & Essex, Love Affair (first version of Affair to Remember–also directed by Leo McCarey), Drums Along the Mohawk, Dark Victory, Union Pacific, Golden Boy, Beau Geste, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Story of Alexander Graham Bell, Stanley and Livingstone, Jesse James, The Roaring Twenties, Babes in Arms, The Four Feathers, Only Angels Have Wings, The Cat and the Canary (Bob Hope & Paulette Goddard version of the silent), Another Thin Man, The Women, Young Mr. Lincoln, Rose of Washington Square, Maisie.

        This is the complete list of 32 films that I have been trying to get onto this blog post for almost 2 weeks and had sent twice before but it was held up in moderation…what wonders putting commas where line spaces were does to save space!

    • Dana Thompson

      the Women is one of the best ever films, I loved it, and cannot believe it didn’t even make the list, but oh there are so many great films

  • DollyT

    This was a Golden Year for Quality Films I cannot chose one over the other.

  • Joseph23006

    Having seen all of them more times than I can remember except for ‘Of Mice and Men’, and knowing which ones would be one and two, I went with ‘Dark Victory’ because works so much more smoothly without the distracting flaws of the biggies! Throw in ‘Mr. Chips’ where Terry Kilburn’s character recycles and smiles while Cammie King is pouty, annoying, and gets bumped off!

  • jumbybird

    What a year… Most years can’t come up with one better than these.

  • Roger Lynn

    1939 is regarded as the greatest year in Oscar history

  • Wayne P.

    I posted a message here last Tuesday and it went to the moderator for approval. It would be nice to please see it asap. All it was is a list of 26 films made in 1939 which included all of the above nominated ones plus many more…but they were all quality movies which proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that 1939 was truly the best year ever in pictures; so, again thanks to show my post and if they could come out with a great classic that any one in the family could watch at the rate of 1 every other week (and I actually think I left off “Another Thin Man”) then maybe Hollywood could somehow be inspired to at least try & entertain us with better quality, even if at a much smaller rate, say…how about that many in a decade perhaps for a goal to start with?

    • Wayne P.

      How could I have forgotten these too, also from that great year in cinema history: Young Mr. Lincoln, Rose of Washington Square (we have to throw in a good Alice Faye musical, just for good measure, dont we?) and Maisie (a fine programmer with Ann Sothern in the first of the series). Now, were up to 30 and counting…still trying to keep the product standard high!

      • Bruce

        The ones on your list weren’t nominated. See the question.

        • Wayne P.

          I just resent my original list of 27 to add to the 3 above and it did include all 10 nominees…hopefully they will moderate it due to its length and post it but as this is my second try am not sure if and/or when that will happen but I assure you all of the listed great classics, including the winner and my all time fave Wizard of Oz were posted to this blog starting a week ago tuesday!

  • Bruce

    Greta Garbo has never been better than Ninotchka!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mindy-Newell/670113930 Mindy Newell

    Impossible to pick!



  • Kathy

    Your list does not include Citizen Kane.

    • Lisanne

      Kathy, I think Citizen Kane was 1941.

  • Lisanne

    I agree with below posters; The Women is one of the best from 1939.

  • mike48128

    GWTW is a great movie for the first half, but after the “intermission” it is a heart-wrenching melodrama. When their child dies in a horse-riding accident, it spoils the entire film for me. What a great year and you left out so many other timeless movies. ” Wizard of Oz” should have won, hands down.

  • Bluesboy

    Hey.. they forgot about 39 more films… I would have gone with “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” (the second feature length film with Rathbone/Bruce, following Hound of The Baskervilles). The very first two Sherlock Holmes films suffer critically because of the “B” films of Roy Niell that followed.. but The Adventures… is TRULY a suspenseful and well acted film with a very beatuitul Ida Lupino.

    • nicolas

      I have not been a big fan of the Hound of The Baskervilles from 39, I much prefer the Peter Cushing Hammer version. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes however is a very good film.

  • nicolas

    Gone With The WInd is one of the films on my top ten list of most famous American movies, all from that year of 39 Wizard of Oz. Personally I like Wizard of Oz, Goodby Mr. Chips (my favorite from that year) and Stagecoach better. Ironic that Wizard of Oz is credited to the same director Victor Fleming as GWTW, though there have been disputes about how much credit he should have gotten. Stagecoach Thomas Mitchell who was also in GWTW, won best supporting actor for Statecoach, and of course was the film that made John Wayne a star, what a stunning opening shot of him in that film, like Ford just knew. I find GWTW just too long to visit it again, and also some of the black characters (Buterfly McQueen and one other) are just too embarrassing to watch. Though I will say, as far as the portrayal of blacks, it is a transitional film, first when the black man saves Scarlett from possible rape, and also Hattie McDaniel does get the upper hand verbally with another white female in regards to lice.

  • MovieLovingBookworm

    I’m aware that GWTW is now “politically incorrect,” considered a rather over-long melodrama (mostly by people who have only seen it on television with interminable commercial breaks), and a sort of movie equivalent of the members of the Algonquin Round Table (“famous for being famous” rather than for any real merit). I have to disagree. Given when this motion picture was made, it more that richly deserves all the alocades, all the honors, is, arguably, the “best” picture of the year.
    There, I said it. But in that statement lies the rub of such an award in the first place. How can this sweeping Civil War epic be compared to the homespun Americana fantasy of the “Wizard of Oz” or the brooding moodiness of “Wuthering Heights” or the visceral poignancy of “Of Mice and Men”? It’s crazy, it’s impossible, and it happens just about this time every year. To put things in perspective, however, remember that the Oscar for “best picture” is voted on by the people who make the movies they’re voting on. I cite 1951 as the prime example of such silliness. (If you don’t remember which movie won Best Picture that year, go look it up.)
    The Oscars are entertaining themselves, often a recognition of cinematic acheivment and excellance. Just as often, they’re a distinct indicator of who’s “in” and who’s “out” during any given year. And given the current Oscar set-up, and the sheer number of nominees, it’s a bit like Bill Cosby’s famous assessment of the sport of basketball; nobody “wins” or “loses” a basketball game, it’s merely who’s ahead when the clock runs out.
    So in the final analysis, it would seem that the best picture of 1939, or of any year for that matter, is the one I consider the best. If Oscar agress, then good for them. They got it right for a change.

  • Mary Lou

    I think GWTW has stood the test of time well.

    I have to admit that I never liked the Wizard of Oz. I disliked it as a child. I dislike it as much now that I’m an adult.

    And I hate the ending of the 1939 version of Wuthering Heights. So Hollywood! So wrong!

    I love Robert Donat, but don’t think Good-bye, Mr. Chips is his best film. I much prefer The 39 Steps.

    Garbo is brilliant in Ninotchka. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is Capra at his best. Stagecoach is John Ford at HIS best.

    Dark Victory is just too schmaltzy for me. I suppose there are some who may say the same of Love Affair, but Cary Grant and Irene Dunne rise above schmaltz in my estimation.

    But man! It was a great year, eh?

  • Noel Bjorndahl

    Love Affair-Leo McCarey loved this story enough to remake it as An Affair to Remember. Both are memorable for the very different chemistries of the stars (Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer in 1939; Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant in 1957). Ninotchka runs a close second in this annus mirabilis for great film releases. My favourite film of 1939, however, wasn’t even nominated-Only Angels Have Wings, a quintessential Howard Hawks early aviation film about stoicism and group professionalism under duress with superb performances from Cary Grant, Richard Barthelmess, Jean Arthur, Thomas Mitchell and a very young Rita Hayworth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.b.rosen Linda B. Rosen

    I wanted to vote for all of them, but Jean Arthur and James Stewart won my heart today…

  • Don

    Why or how could you leave out “Drums Along The Mohawk” starring Henry Fonda & Claudette Colbert from 1939 ? A great movie, highly recommended.

  • Jimmy

    Goodbye Mr. Chips is my favorite. R.D.s portrayal of Chips life as a school teacher won him the best actor. Gable only played himself in GWTW. The academy was correct in choosing RD that year.

  • Antone

    Ninotchka by a nose over The Wizard of Oz. Both are great fun, but Ninotchka wins because of the pleasant surprise that Garbo had a marvelous sense of humor. Who knew that her range extended beyond tragic martyrs. Stagecoach was fine, but Ford and Wayne had better movies to come. Of Mice and Men was good, but was basically just a filmed stage play. The other six [especially Gone With the Wind] were overwrought melodramas. Overacting was common because most actors came from silent films or the stage, which both encouraged broad gestures and/or loud voices.

  • zm73

    A truly great year for movies.

  • Dana Thompson

    Wouldn’t it be nice to see a year of movies equal to this nowadays