I'm going to get crap for this, I'm sure of it.
Ok, so Matt over at Film Guy Reviews is hosting his very first blogathon entitled Oscar Re-Do, and despite the hectic moving schedule going on over here, I really wanted to lend my support. Thankfully, this is a subject I'm very well versed in, considering that I have my very own personal awards (The Fistis) and so I'm used to 'redoing' Oscar.
Here are the official rules:
1. You must only pick one film from one year.
2. When nominating it in different categories, you must take out one actual nominee to make room for yours.
3. After including it in each category you chose, give a short blurb as to why you would've entered it in the different categories that you chose and why you would've nominated it over the nominees that you replaced.
4. It can be a film that is already nominated. But one that only has about one or two.
5. After posting on your blog, you can post the link in the comments section of this page or tweet me @filmguy619.
Now, there are a lot of films I love that Oscar pretty much shut out, but I wanted to stick to a year and a film that I've already posted here so that you have a reference for my passionate appreciation of the film. So, despite thinking that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of the greatest films of all time, I decided NOT to feature it since the 2004 Fisti Awards are not yet posted here. And, even though I do feel like Mommy should have been nominated for pretty much every Oscar out there, I've talked enough about that film recently (and it's going to continue soon), so I opted to NOT discuss that film, even though the 2014 Fistis are up.
So, what did I go with?
There are a couple reasons why I chose Beau Geste, but first and foremost, I really love this movie. It's a great film, and for reference, here you have my 1939 Fisti Awards (including the nominations we're about to talk about). The film was nominated by Oscar in two categories (Art Direction and Supporting Actor), but as a whole this was completely ignored. Oddly enough, those two nominations I personally wouldn't repeat...so I'm taking it's actual nominations away, but I'm giving it six, so bare with me.
A big reasons why I chose this film and not some others that I love that Oscar would never touch (films like Mysteries of Lisbon and Blade Runner are incredible films that I lavish with nominations/wins, but they are also films very much NOT in Oscar's wheelhouse) is that Beau Geste is very much an Oscar film, at least for the times it was released, and so it's absence from the race is puzzling to me.
Maybe reviews were bad, but I kind of doubt it.
So, here's what I would do:
Remove - Goodbye, Mr. Chips
1939 is one of the most (if not THE most) esteemed cinematic/Oscar years in all of movie history, and for good reason. The year was a bounty of great, great films. Oscar's ballot is pretty solid, even if I only personally nominate one of their ten nominees. For me though, Goodbye, Mr. Chips is just a very pedestrian movie and one that feels almost hollow and vapid next to the rest on the list. I was also not a real fan of Dark Victory (it's a tonal mess) and yet at least that had something. Goodbye, Mr. Chips has...nothing. Like, it tries to tell a story about the effect a teacher had on his students and yet the editing of the film's two halves together leaves us with absolutely no story. There is no guts here, no established reasons to feel like this teacher was anything special and so, because of that, it's pretty much a bad movie.
Remove - Sam Wood/Goodbye, Mr. Chips
I personally only nominate one of Oscar's top five (and really, it's for a different movie), but let's be honest here...Sam Wood does NOTHING to this movie. It just sits there...and dies. That's not directing. That's sitting in a seat and watching things happen. Pass.
Remove - Goodbye, Mr. Chips
I promise this is not intended to rip into this one particular film, but who would have guessed that a film that actually mishandles the editing to such an extent that nearly the entire 'story' is edited out of the film would actually get nominated for it's...editing? No thanks. On the other hand, Beau Geste is remarkably edited, especially considering that this film passes time so elegantly and captures intensity when needed and yet never feels rushed in the languid, storytelling moments.
Remove - Goodbye, Mr. Chips
LOL. Seriously, though...back in 1939 there was not an individual 'Adapted' and 'Original' screenplay category. We had 'Original Story' and then 'Screenplay', which also consisted of Original works. Ninotchka and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington were both nominated for Best Screenplay and yet they were also Original works, so I'm not counting them here. So, it's Gone with the Wind (which I nominate) and Wuthering Heights (which was very well done)...and then Goodbye, Mr. Chips, which was pretty terrible. Enough said.
Remove - The Four Feathers
First, I have not seen The Mikado, so I can't judge there, but the rest of the nominees are actually REALLY deserving, and so this removal isn't to say that this is a bad nomination, just not in my personal top five. For me, the expanse in the scenes of Beau Geste just edge out both The Four Feathers and The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, but both films make my top 12.
BEST SOUND RECORDING
Remove - Everything?
This is such a mess of a category. First, Oscar at this point did not have separate categories for Editing and Mixing and so we get ten nominees in a 'Sound' category and half of the films are films that got mentions nowhere else, are unavailable to the public, mostly because no one has remembered/even heard of them. Considering the bounty of films to chose from that engaged sound rather excitedly this year, I'm kind of shocked that something like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and, yes, Goodbye, Mr. Chips was nominated here. Gone with the Wind is an obvious deserving nomination, and should have won (like, what?), but Beau Geste should have at least been nominated.