There are only 28 days in February, but that isn’t stopping Turner Classic Movies from launching its annual “31 Days of Oscar” festival. Starting Saturday and running through March 3 (the day after the Academy Awards, Sunday, March 2) , TCM will be reeling through best picture nominees, best actor nominees, actresses, screenplay, cinematography, art direction , special effects – focusing on especially bountiful years for the movies and their makers.
Try Saturday’s inaugural lineup: all ten best picture nominees from arguably the greatest year in Hollywood history, 1939. Beginning at 6am and running to almost 6am Sunday, the films are: Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Of Mice and Men, Ninotchka, Wuthering Heights, Stagecoach, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Dark Victory and Love Affair. (Gone With the Wind took home the statuette-- but how ridiculous is that year?)
Or consider Feb. 4th’s Foreign Language Film Nominee and Winner Marathon: Fellini’s La Strada (1954), Kon Ichikawa’s The Burmese Harp (’56) , Bergman’s The Virgin Spring (’60), Jiri Menzel’s Closely Watched Trains (’67), Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers (’66), Costa-Gavras’ Z (’69) and Gabriel Axel’s Babette’s Feast (’87).
And how about the Best Supporting Actress Nominee Marathon on Feb 12? Jean Hagen in Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Martha Hyer in Some Came Running (’58), Susan Kohner and Juanita Moore for Imitation of Life (’59), Angela Lansbury in The Manchurian Candidate (’62) and Geraldine Page in You’re a Big Boy Now (’66).