Each week this column will highlight one winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, progressing chronologically until all winners have been discussed. There will be a brief discussion of the film itself followed by a mention of what we wish won from the nominees in the given year (though in many cases there were films that were superior in terms of quality and/or impact that were not nominated). This week’s entry is All About Eve (1950).
Stepping away from the misery and despair that pervaded so many Best Picture winners during and immediately after the Second World War, All About Eve is a slick and humorous look at the lengths people will go to for fame and fortune that is just as cynical as all those other recent winners. The film is, as the title would suggest, all about Eve, a woman who forces her way into the life of Margo Channing, a Broadway star, in an attempt to take her place, but it is equally the story of Margo Channing and the struggles of aging in the entertainment industry. It is the supreme example of the Academy rewarding a film that criticized many of its own members. All About Eve begins to drag in the last act and there’s a plot beat in the end that I didn’t entirely buy into, but the performances and the rest of the writing are so excellent that it can hardly be faulted for a couple missteps.
The Real Best Picture:
There are quite a few similarities between All About Eve and Sunset Boulevard, another 1950 nominee. I think Sunset Boulevard does better in most places where comparisons are bound to be drawn and should’ve won Best Picture.