Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve done a fair amount of second-guessing with regards to the Academy Awards — revisiting the worst films they’ve nominated, the best films they didn’t nominate, and the great filmmakers they ignored. But, in all fairness, the little gold guy sometimes manages to hand over the statue to the film that most deserves it. So, in the interest of hoping for the best come Sunday night, join us for a look back at ten times when Oscar got it right.
It Happened One Night (1934)
The Academy’s reluctance to recognize film comedy was not quite in place at the time of their seventh annual awards; not only did they nominate the elegant comedy/mystery The Thin Man and the Fred-and-Ginger musical The Gay Divorcee for Best Picture, but they gave the big award to Frank Capra’s road comedy/romance, It Happened One Night. They also recognized it for Best Actor, and Best Actress, and Best Director, and Best Screenplay — all five of the categories it was nominated for. It was, in fact, the first film to sweep the so-called “Big Five” (and only the third to date to pull off that neat little trick). And for good reason — this screwball masterpiece is fast, funny, charming, and utterly unforgettable.