Count Down To The Academy Awards With TCM's 31 Days of Oscar

Feb 02, 2016 by Sling Staff

Turner Classic Movies is counting down to the Academy Awards with 31 Days of Oscar, a marathon of hundreds of Oscar-nominated films. With ten or more movies running every day and none of them repeating during February, the schedule is a little overwhelming to even the most seasoned cineaste.

So contributors Sarah Moffatt, Evan Wilder, Oliver Ward, and Alex Castle are going to take it a week at a time, with a full schedule for the week with comments on some of our favorites. Note that most of the movies are going to show up in TCM’s on-demand section soon after they air, so you can catch them even if you miss the live broadcast.

Week 1:

(All times Eastern)

Monday, February 1
6:00 AM Gigi (1958)
8:00 AM The Merry Widow (1952)
10:00 AM Broadway Melody of 1936 (1936)
12:00 PM Calamity Jane (1953)
1:45 PM Billy Rose’s Jumbo (1962)
4:00 PM Ben-Hur (1959)
8:00 PM And the Oscar Goes To… (2014)
10:00 PM Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – I have been meaning to watch this movie for at least twenty years. No less than five times I have circled special one-time screenings on art-house theater calendars – at least a couple of them promising 70mm projection – and somehow never made it to any of them. What do I know about this movie? Absolutely nothing, except a) It’s really long b) the cinematography is breathtaking c) Peter O’Toole is in it. Since it’s now on-demand, I am going to watch this movie this week if it kills me! (AC)
2:00 AM The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
5:00 AM Edward, My Son (1949)

Tuesday, February 2
7:00 AM The Sundowners (1960)
9:30 AM Dear Heart (1964)
11:30 AM The Red Danube (1949)
1:45 PM Forbidden Planet (1956) – Generously, one might compare Forbidden Planet to The Tempest set in space; critically, one might call it schlock. But this science fiction double feature classic has more to offer than expository dialogue and an invisible monster run amuck: it also includes the silver screen debut of Robby the Robot, an oft-recycled prop that cost MGM $125,000 in 1956. In adjusted 2016 dollars, J. J. Abrams could have genetically engineered a real-life Wookiee with that kind of money (or at least a few Ewoks). The visual effects merited an Oscar nomination, but lost to The Ten Commandments. (OW)
3:30 PM Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
5:00 PM The Battle of the Bulge (1965)
8:00 PM The Sting (1973)
10:15 PM The Verdict (1982) – One of the last truly great Paul Newman performances, as an alcoholic Boston lawyer who sees a malpractice case against a hospital owned by the Archdiocese as a way to redeem his once-promising career. Newman, director Sidney Lumet, screenwriter David Mamet, and co-star James Mason were all nominated for this low-key character study. (AC)
12:30 AM From Here To Eternity (1953) – It’s hard to think anyone could steal the show anytime the incredibly handsome and dapper Montgomery Clift was on screen, but, honestly, if anyone could do it, it would be (and was) Frank Sinatra. At the time, Sinatra’s career was in a slump and he needed something to bring him back into the spotlight and playing Maggio in this film did just that. The role, however, wasn’t much of stretch from Sinatra’s real life persona: a hot-headed, smooth talker, who’s good at heart. And, despite being a fairly small role in the film, he still rightfully earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor – one of the film’s seven-out-of-13 wins at the 1954 Oscars. (SM)
2:45 AM The Human Comedy (1943)
4:45 AM Blossoms in the Dust (1941)

Wednesday, February 3
6:30 AM Little Women (1933)
8:30 AM Of Human Bondage (1934)
10:00 AM The Lost Patrol (1934)
11:15 AM Five Star Final (1931)
12:45 PM The Star Witness (1931)
2:00 PM I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
4:00 PM Johnny Eager (1942)
6:00 PM Madame Bovary (1949)
8:00 PM Love Letters (1945)
10:00 PM The Third Man (1949)
12:00 AM The Fallen Idol (1948)
1:45 AM Joan of Paris (1942)
3:30 AM Captain Caution (1940)
5:00 AM One Million B.C. (1940)

Thursday, February 4
6:30 AM Topper Returns (1941)
8:00 AM The Green Goddess (1930)
9:30 AM Stage Door (1937)
11:15 AM My Favorite Wife (1940)
12:45 PM Captain Kidd (1945)
2:15 PM A Patch of Blue (1965)
4:15 PM You’re a Big Boy Now (1966)
6:00 PM East of Eden (1955)
8:00 PM Cool Hand Luke (1967) – Paul Newman made a lot of great movies over the course of his 40-year career, but if you could only have one, most people old enough to remember all those movies would pick this one, the story of a ne’er-do-well who ends up on at a prison work camp, butts heads with the warden, the other prisoners, and generally anyone who expects him to submit to any kind of recognized authority. Newman’s incandescent charisma is the stuff of legend, and this film is where that legend really took flight. (AC)
10:15 PM The Dirty Dozen (1967) – Here’s another one where I feel like someone is going to come take away my American Male Film Lover card because I haven’t seen it. How have I drawn breath on this planet for 42 years and not seen The Dirty Dozen? Here’s what I know about this one: all-star tough guy Lee Marvin leads a bunch of convicts – including Donald Sutherland, John Cassavetes (whose performance was nominated), Jim Brown, Telly Savalas, and Charles Bronson – into an invasion of occupied France during World War II. Also, it’s super violent, at least by 1967 standards. (AC)
1:00 AM The Wild Bunch (1969) – Ditto for this one, just sub in an old West setting, William Holden instead of Lee Marvin, and even more outrageous levels of wanton violence than The Dirty Dozen. Appropriately, the two movies are being shown back-to-back. (AC)
3:30 AM The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960)
5:15 AM A Majority of One (1961)

Friday, February 5
7:45 AM Auntie Mame (1958)
10:15 AM White Heat (1949)
12:15 PM Sergeant York (1941)
2:30 PM The Sea Wolf (1941)
4:00 PM Leave Her to Heaven (1945)
6:00 PM Heaven Can Wait (1931)
8:00 PM The Love Parade (1929)
10:00 PM The Smiling Lieutenant (1931)
11:45 PM It Happened One Night (1934)
1:45 AM A Free Soul (1931)
3:30 AM Berkeley Square (1933)
5:00 AM Merrily We Live (1938)

Saturday, February 6
6:45 AM The Young Philadelphians (1959)
9:15 AM The Wind and the Lion (1975)
11:15 AM The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
1:30 PM A Beautiful Mind (2001) – Not only was it nominated for eight Academy Awards in 2002, but it actually won half of them, including Best Picture. The titular mind is that of mathematician John Nash, who made a breakthrough discovery early in his career and later went on to receive the Nobel Prize in economics for his foundational contributions to game theory, but also battled a crippling mental illness for most of his life. (EW)
4:00 PM Running on Empty (1988) – River Phoenix gave the best performance of his short career in the story of a teenager whose parents, a pair of ‘60s radicals on the FBI’s most-wanted list (Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti), have kept him and his brother totally off the grid and on the move in order to stay out of custody, which is really putting a crimp in his lifestyle in general and his interest in a new classmate (Martha Plimpton) in particular. (AC)
6:15 PM Swing Shift (1984)
8:00 PM Broadcast News (1987) – Television reporters and producers, who have contrasting ideas for how to deal with changes at the network. This dramedy was nominated for seven Oscars including Best Picture, Best Cinematography and Best Writing. Holly Hunter lost out to Cher, whose performance in Moonstruck won her the Best Actress in A Leading Role award. (EW)
One of my very most special super favorite movies of all time, thanks to stellar performances by William Hurt, Albert Brooks, and particularly Holly Hunter, plus a cracklingly witty script by director James L. Brooks. Hunter plays an overworked TV news producer whose conflicting emotions about a handsome and well-meaning but underqualified new anchor (Hurt) bring her supercompetent but untelegenic co-worker (Brooks)’s unrequited feelings to the surface. Amazingly, the movie’s themes around the move toward style over substance and entertainment in the news still feel fresh almost 30 years later. (AC)
10:30 PM And the Oscar Goes To… (2014)
12:30 AM Easy Rider (1969)
2:15 AM Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
4:15 AM The Star (1952)

Sunday, February 7
6:00 AM The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
8:00 AM The Magnificent Yankee (1950)
9:45 AM North by Northwest (1959) – Directed by the master of horror and suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock, this potboiler about an ad exec mistaken for a spy stars heavy hitters Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. The film won exactly zero Academy Awards, but don’t let that stop you from watching. The American Film Institute includes it on its list of “100 Greatest Movies of All Time.”
12:15 PM The Fortune Cookie (1966)
2:30 PM Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
4:45 PM A Star is Born (1954)
8:00 PM The Harvey Girls (1946)
10:00 PM It’s Always Fair Weather (1955)
12:00 AM Designing Woman (1957)
2:15 AM Key Largo (1948)
4:00 AM Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet (1940)
5:45 AM It Happened Tomorrow (1944)

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