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Oscar Vault Monday – The Racket, 1928 (dir. Lewis Milestone)


The Racket was long thought a lost film. After the death of Howard Hughes, however, one surviving print was recovered. It was restored with help from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. As you can probably tell from the date, it was one of the first Best Picture nominees. This is a tricky ceremony, as the Academy had two Best Picture categories, one for Best Production and one for Most Unique and Artistic Production. After they dropped the latter category, the Academy tends to count the former as the official “Best Picture” nominees. Thus I decided to write about a film that was nominated in that category, but I am going to list all six films that were nominated in both categories. It’s important that you watch them all because you can really see why a split category like this was necessary at the tail-end of the Silent Era. But with the invention of sound, artistry got lost in the mire while the industry struggled to get back to the basics, only this time with sound. The nominees for Best Production were: The Racket, Seventh Heaven and winner Wings and the nominees for Most Unique and Artistic Production were: Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness, The Crowd and winner Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans.

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