Oscar Vault Monday – The Hollywood Revue of 1929, 1929 (dir. Charles Reisner)
This is such a strange film. It was MGM’s second feature-length musical and one of the studio’s earliest sound films. Unlike most MGM musicals, this film really has no overarching plot. Like the title suggests, it’s just a revue – a series of skits, songs and dance numbers by basically everyone on the MGM lot (the only major MGM stars of the era missing are Lon Chaney, Ramon Navarro and Greta Garbo). The film was only nominated for Best Picture and the other films up for the top prize that year were Alibi, In Old Arizona, The Patriot (now a lost film) and winner The Broadway Melody (also an MGM musical).
Oscar Vault Monday – The Divorcee, 1930 (dir. Robert Z. Leonard)
While I think the Academy definitely made the right choice with their Best Picture winner for the 1929/1930 season (this was before they gave out their awards according to calendar years), there were a few films that year that are way too much fun to ever be forgotten. One of those films was the 1930 film The Divorcee, starring “The Queen of MGM” – Norma Shearer. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, winning one:Best Writing, Best Actress Norma Shearer (won), Best Director, Best Picture. The other nominees that year were The Big House, Disraeli, The Love Parade and winner All Quite on the Western Front.