All About Eve (winner)
Father of the Bride
King Solomon’s Mines
There’s plenty of room for improvement for our Best Picture category for 1950, although I think three of the nominations are warranted and two could be argued as winners. On the foreign front, Rashomon is the clear miss. Gun Crazy is alternately listed as a 1949 or 1950 movie, and I’m always happy to mention it. Also on the domestic front we have The Asphalt Jungle, which admittedly hasn’t aged very well. In a Lonely Place certainly has, though, and it’s a pretty big miss. Harvey probably isn’t serious enough to warrant a nomination, although it’s a fine way to spend a couple of hours. Winchester ‘73 may have been just too much of a change from the standard Western. A much bigger miss is Ace in the Hole, which only becomes more and more relevant as time goes on.
Weeding through the Nominees
5. I know I watched King Solomon’s Mines and I have some vague memory of it, but I don’t recall a great deal. That doesn’t bode well for a Best Picture nominee, even one that (shockingly) was the highest-grossing film of its year. Few problems in this film last longer than a couple of minutes, and most of them seem to be solved by having someone shoot an elephant. For an action movie, this is staggeringly dull, and I almost fell asleep watching it—and I watched it in the middle of the day. It shouldn’t be here.
4. Father of the Bride is a cute movie and it’s well made. I might even go so far as to say that it’s good and worth watching. But Best Picture? A flighty little nothing like this doesn’t deserve to be considered in the same category as the top films in this category and with most of the ones I mentioned in the first paragraph. This isn’t a knock on the movie. It’s fine as a movie. But this isn’t close to being the best movie of its year and shouldn’t be in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence. It just doesn’t belong.
3. I like the fact that Born Yesterday was nominated for this award, even if in an open field it might not make my top five. Okay, it probably wouldn’t, but I still like the nomination because I like the film. It’s clearly a comedy, but it’s got its moments of darkness, and those moments work well. It’s beautifully cast and I love Judy Holliday in it. It’s still a good movie and one that I like very much. Honestly, it probably shouldn’t be in consideration, but it’s a hell of a lot more deserving than the two I’ve already gone through.
2. I can’t really argue against All About Eve even if it wouldn’t be the movie that gets my vote. I understand exactly why it won, and if someone wants to tell me that this is where his or her vote goes, I can’t really say it’s a wrong vote. It is tightly wound and clicks along perfectly, containing great performances from everyone involved. It is a film that everyone should see at least once and probably more than once. I refuse to take its Oscar away completely, although I would vote differently.
1. My winner is Sunset Boulevard, which is one of that exclusive handful of films noir that absolutely epitomize the entire style. There isn’t a single frame of this movie I would change and not a single note that it hits that doesn’t work perfectly. It’s one of the great films not just of its year, but of its decade and its entire era, and absolutely one of my favorites of its decade as well. I could see All About Eve winning, but I would have preferred Sunset Boulevard to take the top position, although admittedly, that margin is a pretty slim one.