Here are our daily recommendations for your 31 Days of Oscar viewing this week:
Tuesday, February 15th
10:30AM EST: Black Orpheus (1959)
The first time I saw this film was in a postcolonial literature class in college, and I fell in love with its musical, magical beauty. It’s a retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, set smack down in the middle of Brazil’s Carnival celebration. A seriously gorgeous and heartfelt movie. Don’t let the subtitles scare you away. Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.
Wednesday, February 16th
1:15PM EST: Since You Went Away (1944)
I finally got around to seeing this celebration of the American woman on the home front last month and, despite its sometimes cloying sentimentality, rather enjoyed it. Features fantastic performances from an all-star cast including Claudette Colbert, Joseph Cotten, Shirley Temple, Jennifer Jones, Hattie McDaniel, Agnes Moorehead, Robert Walker, and the ever-wonderful Monty Woolley. Winner of the Oscar for Best Score (out of nine nominations!).
Thursday, February 17th
4:00PM EST: Anna Christie (1930)
Based on Eugene O’Neill’s play, Greta Garbo stars as the title character, a prostitute trying to escape her demons. This film marks Garbo’s first speaking role after a phenomenal run of success in silent cinema. It’s gritty and realistic, far removed from the glamorous screen persona Garbo had cultivated in years past, but she’s nonetheless beautiful–and beautifully brilliant–in the role. Nominated for three Oscars including Best Actress (Garbo).
Friday, February 18th
10:00PM EST: Marty (1955)
Ernest Borgnine is phenomenal as the title character, a plain, lonely butcher who finds love with an equally plain woman (Betsy Blair), only to face the derision of his overbearing mother and unfeeling friends for his choice of mate. Winner of four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director (Delbert Mann), Best Screenplay (for Paddy Chayefsky), and Best Actor for Borgnine’s performance.
Saturday, February 19th
5:30PM EST: Sergeant York (1941)
One of the defining performances of Gary Cooper’s career (and his self-proclaimed favorite role). He stars in the true story of Alvin C. York, a Tennessee farmer and pacifist who is drafted into World War I and subsequently becomes a hero. Unfailingly patriotic and a great biographical portrait of the American soldier. Winner of two Academy Awards for Best Actor (the first of two statues for Cooper) and Best Editing.
Sunday, February 20th
8:00PM EST: Born Yesterday (1950)
This movie simply belongs to Judy Holliday. In recreating her successful Broadway role as Billie Dawn, the dizzy girlfriend of the corrupt Harry Brock (Broderick Crawford), Holliday takes charge of the screen. Whether bantering with (read: screaming at) Crawford or sizzling with on-screen tutor William Holden, Holliday is an utter comic delight … and a very deserving winner of the Oscar for Best Actress.
Monday, February 21st
9:30AM EST: Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)
Adapted from the Tennessee Williams play of the same name, this film stars Paul Newman as gigolo Chance Wayne, who falls in with a fading movie star (Geraldine Page) in the hopes of becoming a Hollywood star himself. When the pair travels to his hometown, Chance finds that it’s not so easy to escape your past. Page is brilliant in a role inspired by temperamental star Tallulah Bankhead. Nominated for three Academy Awards for acting–Ed Begley won Best Supporting Actor for the antagonistic role of “Boss” Finley.