As popular as the Academy Awards are, they can be a very controversial topic amongst movie lovers. I think virtually every cinephile has their own list of movies that they think got robbed at the Oscars. Some may even have their favorite and least favorite Academy Award years. But one thing I think we can all agree on is that the nominees for the second Academy Award ceremony (covering 1928-1929) definitely weren’t the strongest group of movies ever nominated.
It’s not so much that 1928-1929 was a completely terrible year for movies, but the film industry had been turned completely upside down that year. During the first Academy Award ceremony, The Jazz Singer was given an honorary award for revolutionizing the film industry. By the following year, the impact of The Jazz Singer was undeniable. The movies eligible for the 1928-1929 Oscars were part of the first wave of movies to come out in the wake of The Jazz Singer and the nominees that year are a better reflection of how in flux the industry was at the time than what the best movies really were.
Even though studios were scrambling to hop on the talkie bandwagon, the production of silent films didn’t come to an immediate halt. Some truly excellent silent films were produced that year, but you’d never know it by looking at the list of nominees. However, if some of those silent films had been nominated, that year would probably now be looked back upon more favorably.