21CF Oscars Countdown: Fox Film’s first Best Picture winner, ‘Cavalcade’ (1933), which celebrates its 85th anniversary this year

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In the weeks leading up to the 90th Oscars on Sunday, March 4, we’ll take a look at our rich Academy Award history by sharing from our 20th Century Fox Archives.

This year for the 90th Oscars, 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight have three Best Picture nominees: Fox Searchlight’s “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and 20th Century Fox’s “The Post.”

At the 6th Academy Awards ceremony held on March 16, 1934, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, the 1933 film “Cavalcade” won the award for Outstanding Production (the modern-day equivalent to this award is Best Picture). This film was produced under the Fox Film Corporation, before the merger with Twentieth Century Pictures in 1935 to become the modern-day 20th Century Fox. In addition to winning the Outstanding Production award, “Cavalcade” also won Best Director for Frank Lloyd, and Best Art Director for William S. Darling and Fredric Hope.

“Cavalcade” celebrates its 85th anniversary this year. This pre-Code drama film was based on a play of the same title by the award-winning playwright Noël Coward. The film follows a wealthy London-based family, their friends and their staff, and how several historical events through 1899 to 1933 affect their lives. The movie was directed by Frank Lloyd and had a screenplay written by Sonya Levien and Reginald Berkeley. Sonya would eventually become one of the highest-earning female screenwriters in Hollywood. The stars of the film are Clive Brook and Diana Wynyard, who was nominated for Best Actress but lost.

Below are a few pieces from our Photography and Publicity collections for “Cavalcade.” 

The Fox Archives is mandated to collect, catalog, preserve and make accessible the following assets of the 20th Century Fox studios: props, set decoration, photographs, art department and publicity materials from our film and television productions, and from the 20th Century Fox studio itself. We work primarily with internal Fox groups but also from time to time with outside organizations such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.