In just a few days, 31 Days of Oscar 2011 will be underway! I’ve been watching 31 Days of Oscar for so long now that I feel like I’ve seen most everything they typically show during this month, but there’s always lots of stuff I’m glad to revisit. Every year, TCM comes up with a theme to tie together the movies for 31 Days of Oscar and this year the theme is “trivia.” Each day, TCM will be playing movies that have something in common like retired categories (Feb. 6), “the best of the best” (all of 1939′s Best Picture nominees, Feb. 12), and “nominated for playing a nominee” (March 3). Be sure to check TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar website to get the full details and to download a complete schedule. Now, onto my picks for the month!
February 1: 31 Days of Oscar kicks off with a morning of movies directed by W.S. Van Dyke, including Manhattan Melodrama at 9:30 AM and The Thin Man at 11:15 AM. After that, the theme of the afternoon is “self-made men,” men who directed themselves in parts that earned Best Actor nominations, including Citizen Kane at 1:00 PM and The Great Dictator at 3:00 PM.
February 3: The day starts off with some movies featuring real life husbands and wives, Witness for the Prosecution at 6:00 AM and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf at 8:00 AM. After that are movies that earned nominations in all four acting categories: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (10:30 AM), Johnny Belinda (12:30 PM), For Whom the Bell Tolls (2:30 PM), and A Streetcar Named Desire (5:30 PM). Prime time is dedicated to looking at nominees from the 1929-1930 Oscars. At 8:00 PM is The Love Parade, All Quiet on the Western Front at 10:00 PM, The Big House at 12:30 AM, The Divorcee at 2:00 AM, and Disraeli at 3:30 AM.
February 4: Starting at 11:30 AM, you can see the movies that resulted in ties for Best Actor and Best Actress. First up is a Best Actor tie with Wallace Beery in The Champ at 11:30 AM and Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at 1:00 PM, followed by the Best Actress tie of Katharine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter at 2:45 PM and Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl at 5:15 PM. Starting at 8:00 PM, you can see movies featuring actors who had been knighted, including The Heiress at 8:00 PM and The Bridge on the River Kwai at 10:00 PM.
February 5: Today features an afternoon of delightful comedies that feature Bess Flowers with Mr. Deeds Goes to Town at 1:00 PM, The Awful Truth at 4:30 PM, and Father of the Bride at 6:15 PM.
February 6: It’s a night of movies that won in now retired categories, including Sunrise at 8:00 PM, Wings (first ever Best Picture winner) at 10:00 PM, The House on 92nd Street at 12:30 AM, Viva Villa! at 2:15 AM, and A Damsel in Distress at 4:15 AM.
February 7: The day starts out with a morning of movies that were nominated for Best Picture, but in no other categories. My favorite among them is Libeled Lady at 12:00 PM. Prime time is all about Greer Garson and the five movies that won her five consecutive Best Actress nominations. Up at 8:00 PM is Blossoms in the Dust, followed by Mrs. Miniver at 10:00 PM, Madame Curie 12:30 AM, Mrs. Parkington at 2:45 AM, and The Valley of Decision at 5:00 AM.
February 8: It’s a night of movies that won both leading and supporting acting roles. Gaslight is up at 8:00 PM, Kramer vs. Kramer at 10:00 PM, and Glory at 12:00 AM.
February 9: How can you go wrong with an afternoon of movies co-written by Billy Wilder? Ball of Fire is on at 1:30 PM, followed by A Foreign Affair at 3:30 PM, and The Fortune Cookie at 5:30 PM. Prime time is about movies that led to some memorable Oscar moments. My pick would be What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? at 12:00 AM.
February 10: It’s a night of movies that featured set decoration by Cedric Gibbons, featuring An American in Paris at 10:00 PM and Thousands Cheer at 4:00 AM.
February 11: Tonight’s prime time line-up features Oscar winning roles that were originally turned down by somebody else, including The Graduate at 8:00 PM and Forrest Gump at 10:00 PM. Think I’ll have to pass on Pretty Woman, though since I’ve always thought that one of the perks of TCM is that I don’t have to encounter Julia Roberts.
February 12: Today is a four-star day if I’ve ever seen one! It’s got every best picture nominee from 1939. Dark Victory at 8:15 AM, Of Mice and Men at 10:00 AM, Ninotchka at 12:00 PM, Wuthering Heights at 2:00 PM, Stagecoach at 4:00 PM, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at 5:45 PM, The Wizard of Oz at 8:00 PM, Gone With the Wind at 10:00 PM, Goodbye Mr. Chips at 2:00 AM, and Love Affair at 4:00 AM.
February 13: Tonight you have the chance to see movies that each won Oscars for two different writing awards. In case you were starting to miss Christmas movies, Miracle on 34th Street is on at 8:00 PM. After that, there’s Going My Way at 10:00 PM, Here Comes Mr. Jordan at 12:30 AM, and The Story of Louis Pasteur at 2:15 AM.
February 14: It’s Valentine’s Day, so of course there’s a day of romantic Best Picture nominees. Lots of great stuff like Alice Adams at 6:00 AM, Flirtation Walk at 8:00 AM, The More the Merrier at 10:00 AM, The Bishop’s Wife at 2:00 PM, and The Philadelphia Story at 4:00 PM. Starting at 8:00 is a night of movies that involve family members working together, including Casablanca at 10:00 PM, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre at 12:00 AM, and Victor/Victoria at 2:15 AM.
February 15: It’s a morning of French Oscar nominees! Au Revoir, Les Infants at 6:30 AM, Black Orpheus at 10:30 AM, and Mon Oncle at 12:30 PM.
February 16: The theme of Oscar Firsts starts on the evening of the 15th and continues into today with stuff like Grand Illusion at 6:00 AM, Chang at 8:00 AM, Since You Went Away at 1:15 PM, and Swing Time at 6:15 PM.
February 18: I love this day. Most of the day is dedicated to Oscar nominees that prominently feature NYC. Do the Right Thing at 4:15 AM, The Naked City at 6:30 AM, Dead End at 8:15 AM, Angels with Dirty Faces at 10:00 AM, On the Town at 11:45 AM, It’s Always Fair Weather at 1:30 PM, The Producers at 5:00 PM, and It Should Happen to You at 6:30 PM.
February 19: It’s a day with the actor with the most Best Actor nominations: Spencer Tracy! San Francisco at 4:15 AM, Bad Day at Black Rock at 6:15 AM, The Old Man and the Sea at 7:45 AM, Inherit the Wind at 9:15 AM, and Captains Courageous at 11:30 AM.
February 20: Another day I really like. The theme of the day is movies that were nominated for Best Director, but not Best picture. Blow-Up starts it off at 4:15 AM, then there’s 2001: A Space Odyssey at 6:15 AM, Summertime at 9:00 AM, Morocco at 11:00 AM, and The Third Man at 3:15 PM. Prime time is all about movies that originated as stage plays, including: Born Yesterday at 8:00 PM, My Fair Lady at 10:00 PM, Auntie Mame at 1:00 AM.
February 21: The theme of the night is “Oscar Onlys.” Up at 8:00 is State Fair, The Best Years of Our Lives at 10:00 PM, and Pygmalion at 1:00 AM.
February 22: The theme of “Oscar Onlys” continues into today with The Divine Lady at 7:00 AM, Limelight at 8:45 AM, A Day at the Races at 11:15 AM, and The Red Balloon at 7:15 PM. Tonight features movies that produced not one, but two Best Actor or Best Actress nominees, like The Defiant Ones at 8:00 PM and Giant at 3:15 AM.
February 23: Today has some great Rita Hayworth movies that earned John Livadary nominations for Best Sound, You Were Never Lovelier at 12:00 PM and Cover Girl at 4:00 PM. The theme of the night is movies that won Best Picture, but didn’t necessarily win the most awards that year. Tonight we’ve got All the King’s Men at 8:00 PM, You Can’t Take it With You at 10:00 PM, and The Great Ziegfeld at 12:15 AM.
February 24: What better way to start your day off than with some Federico Fellini? There’s Amacord at 3:30 AM, 8 1/2 at 6:00 AM, and La Strada at 8:30 AM. Tonight’s theme is also director related, but this time it’s all about William Wyler. Dodsworth is up at 8:00 PM, Ben-Hur at 10:00 PM, Friendly Persuasion at 2:00 AM, and The Collector at 4:30 AM.
February 25: The day starts out with a couple from Oscar winning sisters Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine, Suspicion (7:00 AM) and To Each His Own (9:00 AM). After that is an afternoon of movies that feature Oscar nominated film debuts, including Marie Antoinette at 11:15 AM and Bus Stop at 6:00 PM. The day gets even better when 8:00 rolls around because tonight’s theme is movies that earned five acting nominations. On The Waterfront is on at 8:00 PM, From Here to Eternity at 10:00 PM, and Bonnie and Clyde at 2:30 AM.
February 26: It’s a day of Oscar nominated remakes! My picks are: The Adventures of Robin Hood at 11:45 AM, The Letter at 1:45 PM, and The Maltese Falcon at 3:30 PM. Then starts a night of movies that won the five major awards: It Happened One Night at 8:00 PM and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest at 10:00 PM.
February 27: The day starts off with movies based on real women, like Frances at 2:45 AM, Silkwood at 5:15 AM, I’ll Cry Tomorrow at 10:30 AM, I Want to Live! at 12:45 PM. Prime time is about movies that won Oscars, but the winners didn’t show up to accept them. Mildred Pierce at 8:00 PM, Annie Hall at 10:00 PM, The Informer at 12:00 AM, and Morning Glory at 2:00 AM.
February 28: All day is dedicated to Oscar nominees produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer, including: Smilin’ Through at 3:30 AM, The Human Comedy at 2:00 PM, Test Pilot at 4:00 PM. Tonight is about movies that deal with alcoholism like Arthur (8:00 PM), The Lost Weekend (10:00 PM), and Days of Wine and Roses (12:00 AM).