Best Picture Nominees: 1934

In this year, Hitler combined the offices of Chancellor and President to become Fuhrer of Germany, as the Balkan states signed a pact to stand together. At home, the FBI shot John Dillinger, “Public Enemy No. 1”. At the Oscars, It Happened One Night swept the awards, with the Best Actor and Best Actress going to performers in the same film for the first time.

For more information about 1934, see The Learning Network's Fact Monster.

It Happened One Night (Frank Capra)
Won Best Picture
IMDB Highest Rated
Solonor's Pick
Rebellious socialite Ellie Andrews (Claudette Colbert) marries King Wesley (Jameson Thomas), but her wealthy father (Walter Connolly) has it annulled. Tired of her father's control, she runs away by diving off the family yacht in Miami and heading for New York. On the bus she meets street-smart reporter Peter Warne (Clark Gable). They end up traveling together, as Warne hopes to get a great story, and Ellie needs his worldly help. Nearing New York, they find that they are reluctantly in love and afraid to admit it to each other. This is one of the greatest romantic comedies in film history and a film that has endured in popularity. It won all five of its nominated categories: Best Picture, Best Actor (Clark Gable), Best Actress (Claudette Colbert), Best Director (Frank Capra), and Best Adaptation (Robert Riskin).

The Thin Man (W.S. Van Dyke)
Nominated Best Picture
Dorothy Wynant (Maureen O'Sullivan) approaches amateur sleuth Nick Charles (William Powell) when her inventor father appears to be a major suspect in a murder case. In fact, Dorothy is so worried about her father's guilt that she tries to convince Nick that she did it. Nick's wife Nora (Myrna Loy) wants him on the case so that she can experience some of the excitement herself. However, Nick is reluctant to get involved until he sees that police Lt. Guild (Nat Pendleton) is coming to the wrong conclusions. Nick decides that the best way to clear up the case is to invite all the suspects to dinner with Lt. Guild and see what happens. This is the first of a popular series of films about the sophisticated and urbane husband and wife detective team. The film's mystery story takes a back seat to the snappy banter between the married couple. The story is taken from Dashiell Hammett's 1932 detective novel of the same name.


Imitation of Life (John M. Stahl)
Nominated Best Picture
Bea Pullman and her daughter Jessie (Claudette Colbert and Rochelle Hudson) have had a hard time making ends meet since Bea's husband died. Help comes in the form of Delilah Johnson (Louise Beavers), who agrees to work as Bea's housekeeper in exchange for a room for herself and her daughter Peola (Fredi Washington). Bea comes up with a plan to market Delilah's pancake recipe. The two soon become wealthy and as the years go on, their friendship deepens. Their relationships with their daughters, however, become strained. Ashamed of her mother, Peola seeks a new life by passing for white. Bea's love for her daughter is tested when she and Jessie fall for the same man.

The Gay Divorcee (Mark Sandrich)
Nominated Best Picture
Mimi Glossop (Ginger Rogers) meets dancer Guy Holden (Fred Astaire) and thinks he is the one she has been writing to, hoping to run away with after her divorce. Unknown to her, Mimi's Aunt Hortense (Alice Brady) has hired a professional to play her correspondent. The plot is really an excuse for song and dance, as this is the first pairing for Astaire and Rogers in a starring role. It is filled with great numbers and won first Oscar for Best Song: "The Continental".

The House of Rothschild (Alfred L. Werker)
Nominated Best Picture
The story of the rise of the Rothschild financial empire, founded by Mayer Rothschild (George Arliss) and continued by his five sons. From humble beginnings the business grows and helps to finance the war against Napoleon, in spite of the prejudice against their Jewish faith.


The Barretts of Wimpole Street (Sidney Franklin)
Nominated Best Picture
An historical, heart-felt tale of poets Robert Browning (Fredric March) and Elizabeth Barrett (Norma Shearer) who fall in love with each other in 19th century England. Her jealous and over-protective father Edward (Charles Laughton) vigilantly watches over the couple. With her newly-found vitality and happiness, the invalid, bed-ridden poet breaks away from her domineering father's dictatorial stranglehold.


Viva Vila! (Jack Conway)
Nominated Best Picture
In this fictionalized biography, young Pancho Villa (Wallace Beery) takes to the hills after killing an overseer in revenge for his father's death. In 1910, he befriends American reporter Johnny Sykes (Stuart Erwin). Then a meeting with visionary Francisco Madero (Henry B. Walthall) transforms Villa from an avenging bandit to a revolutionary general.


One Night of Love (Victor Schertzinger)
Nominated Best Picture
Mary Barrett (Grace Moore) is an aspiring Opera singer who is taken under the wings of a famous operatic maestro, Guilio Monterverdi (Tullio Carminati). After spending endless working hours together and arguing, their relationship develops into love. But, jealousy and misunderstandings prevent Mary and Guilio from acknowledging their true feelings.

Cleopatra (Cecil B. DeMille)
Nominated Best Picture
A full-blown C.B. DeMille spectacle about the man-hungry Cleopatra (Claudette Colbert). In 48 BC, Cleopatra, facing palace revolt in her kingdom of Egypt, welcomes the arrival of Julius Caesar (Warren William) as a way of solidifying her power under Rome. When Caesar is killed, she transfers her affections to Marc Antony (Henry Wilcoxon).

Here Comes the Navy (Lloyd Bacon)
Nominated Best Picture
To continue a grudge with naval officer Biff Martin (Pat O'Brien), feisty construction worker Chesty O'Connor (James Cagney) joins the navy and manages to get stationed on the same ship as Martin. Further complications arise when O'Connor starts dating Martin's sister, whom he meets while on shore leave.


Flirtation Walk (Frank Borzage)
Nominated Best Picture
A Musical-romance with Dick Powell as a private stationed in Hawaii who gets involved with the general's engaged daughter (Ruby Keeler). In order to avoid a scandal, the pair break up, but meet again years later when Powell's at West Point producing the annual play that turns out to star Keeler.

The White Parade (Irving Cummings)
Nominated Best Picture
This is the story of the stern discipline and laborious physical and mental toil medical students endure in order to become nurses and join the "White Parade". It is told mainly through the character of June Arden (Loretta Young) who finds romance with Ronald Hall III (John Boles)on the way.

L' Atalante (Jean Vigo)
From France, this film tells the story of Juliette (Dita Parlo) and Jean (Jean Daste). When Juliette marries Jean, she comes to live on his ship, along with a cabin boy and the strange old second mate Pere Jules (Michel Simon). Soon bored by life on the river, she slips off to see Paris. Angry, Jean sets off without her. Overcome by grief and longing for his wife, Jean falls into a depression, and Pere Jules leaves to try to find Juliette.

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Best Picture: 1934
What is the Best Picture of 1934?

It Happened One Night
The Thin Man
Imitation of Life
The Gay Divorcee
The House of Rothschild
The Barretts of Wimpole Street
Viva Villa!
One Night of Love
Here Comes the Navy
Flirtation Walk
The White Parade

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1933 <- Main Menu -> 1935

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