TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar 2016 – What to Watch

Throughout the month of February (and the first couple days of March), TCM airs Oscar-winning and nominated films. Looking at this year’s schedule, I’ve seen more than half of the films that are showing so I thought I’d recommend films to watch throughout 31 Days of Oscar. But instead of listing a ton of great movies to watch, I’m only going to choose one film to check out per day. Furthermore, I’m mostly highlighting what I believe are underrated movies that not enough people have seen, though there will be some more acclaimed ones mixed in given the day’s schedule.

All times listed are Eastern and Central (as I live in that time zone), so be sure to check your local listings and visit TCM’s website for additional information. Keep in mind that according to TCM’s schedule, a day starts at 6:00 AM (EST) and ends at 5:59 AM (EST). If you miss any of the films when they air, you can check to see if they’ve been added to the Watch TCM app, which is how I’ll be watching a lot of their movies this month. And feel free to give me recommendations on movies to watch (or revisit); you can view the PDF schedule here. Also, all images and information are taken straight from TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar website here.

Calamity Jane (1953)
Airing on Monday, February 1st at 12 PM (EST)/11 AM (CST)
The Wild West heroine helps bring a star attraction to Deadwood and finds love.
Directed by David Butler
Starring Doris Day, Howard Keel, Allyn McLerie
Won 1 Oscar; Nominated for 2 other Oscars

Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
Airing on Tuesday, February 2nd at 3:30 PM (EST)/2:30 PM (CST)
A one-armed veteran uncovers small-town secrets when he tries to visit an Asian-American war hero’s family.
Directed by John Sturges
Starring Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis
Nominated for 3 Oscars, including Best Actor and Best Director

The Fallen Idol (1948)
Airing on Wednesday, February 3rd at 12 AM (EST)/11 PM (CST)
A neglected child thinks the servant he idolizes has committed murder.
Directed by Carol Reed
Starring Ralph Richardson, Michele Morgan, Bobby Henrey
Nominated for 2 Oscars, including Best Director

A Patch of Blue (1965)
Airing on Thursday, February 4th at 2:15 PM (EST)/1:15 PM (CST)
A blind white girl falls in love with a black man.
Directed by Guy Green
Starring Sidney Poitier, Shelley Winters, Elizabeth Hartman
Won 1 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress; Nominated for 4 other Oscars, including Best Actress

White Heat (1949)
Airing on Friday, February 5th at 10:15 AM (EST)/9:15 AM (CST)
A government agent infiltrates a gang run by a mother-fixated psychotic.
Directed by Raoul Walsh
Starring James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O’Brien
Nominated for 1 Oscar

Broadcast News (1987)
Airing on Saturday, February 6th at 8 PM (EST)/7 PM (CST)
A news producer is caught between a committed journalist and a flashy anchor.
Directed by James L. Brooks
Starring William Hurt, Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks
Nominated for 7 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor

It’s Always Fair Weather (1955)
Airing on Sunday, February 7th at 10 PM (EST)/9 PM (CST)
World War II buddies get mixed up with gangsters and an egotistical TV star when they hold a 10-year reunion.
Directed by Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Starring Gene Kelly, Dan Dailey, Cyd Charisse
Nominated for 2 Oscars

The Graduate (1967)
Airing on Monday, February 8th at 3:30 AM (EST)/2:30 AM (CST)
A recent college graduate has an affair with his neighbor’s wife, then falls for their daughter.
Directed by Mike Nichols
Starring Anne Bancroft, Dustin Hoffman, Katharine Ross
Won 1 Oscar for Best Director; Nominated for 6 other Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress

Barry Lyndon (1975)
Airing on Tuesday, February 9th at 10:15 PM (EST)/9:15 PM (CST)
An Irish rogue cheats his way to the top of 18th-century British society.
Directed by Stanley Kubrick
Starring Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee
Won 4 Oscars; Nominated for 3 other Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director

Pat and Mike (1952)
Airing on Wednesday, February 10th at 6:15 PM (EST)/5:15 PM (CST)
Romance blooms between a female athlete and her manager.
Directed by George Cukor
Starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Aldo Ray
Nominated for 1 Oscar

Imitation of Life (1934)
Airing on Thursday, February 11th at 8 PM (EST)/7 PM (CST)
A widow and her housekeeper go into business together but almost lose their daughters.
Directed by John M. Stahl
Starring Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Rochelle Hudson
Nominated for 3 Oscars, including Best Picture

Tootsie (1982)
Airing on Friday, February 12th at 8 PM (EST)/7 PM (CST)
An unemployed actor masquerades as a woman to win a soap-opera role.
Directed by Sydney Pollack
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Dabney Coleman
Won 1 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Lange); Nominated for 9 other Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress (Teri Garr), and Best Director

Days of Heaven (1978)
Airing on Saturday, February 13th at 7:45 AM (EST)/6:45 AM (CST)
Young lovers pose as brother and sister to survive on the American frontier during the early 20th century.
Directed by Terrence Malick
Starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard
Won 1 Oscar; Nominated for 3 other Oscars

Love Affair (1939)
Airing on Sunday, February 14th at 8:30 AM (EST)/7:30 AM (CST)
Near-tragic misunderstandings threaten a shipboard romance.
Directed by Leo McCarey
Starring Irene Dunne, Charles Boyer, Maria Ouspenskaya
Nominated for 6 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Airing on Monday, February 15th at 12:15 AM (EST)/11:15 PM (CST)
Three prospectors fight off bandits and each other after striking-it-rich in the Mexican mountains.
Directed by John Huston
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt
Won 3 Oscars, including Best Supporting Actor and Best Director; Nominated for 1 other Oscar for Best Picture

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
Airing on Tuesday, February 16th at 12:15 AM (EST)/11:15 PM (CST)
A spirited widow rents a haunted cottage and builds an emotional bond with the resident ghost.
Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Starring Gene Tierney, Rex Harrison, George Sanders
Nominated for 1 Oscar

The Blue Dahlia (1946)
Airing on Wednesday, February 17th at 10:30 AM (EST)/9:30 AM (CST)
A veteran fights to prove he didn’t kill his cheating wife.
Directed by George Marshall
Starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, William Bendix
Nominated for 1 Oscar

Crossfire (1947)
Airing on Thursday, February 18th at 4:30 AM (EST)/3:30 AM (CST)
A crusading district attorney investigates the murder of a Jewish man.
Directed by Edward Dmytryk
Starring Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan
Nominated for 5 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Director

The Narrow Margin (1952)
Airing on Friday, February 19th at 6:00 AM (EST)/5:00 AM (CST)
A tough cop meets his match when he has to guard a gangster’s moll on a tense train ride.
Directed by Richard Fleischer
Starring Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
Nominated for 1 Oscar

Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
Airing on Saturday, February 20th at 10 PM (EST)/9 PM (CST)
An aging American judge presides over the trial of Nazi war criminals.
Directed by Stanley Kramer
Starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark
Won 2 Oscars, including Best Actor (Maximilian Schell); Nominated for 9 other Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Spencer Tracy), Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Director

The Lost Weekend (1945)
Airing on Sunday, February 21st at 10 AM (EST)/9 AM (CST)
A writer fights to overcome his addiction to liquor.
Directed by Billy Wilder
Starring Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry
Won 4 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director; Nominated for 3 other Oscars

Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Airing on Monday, February 22nd at 12 AM (EST)/11 PM (CST)
An American reporter covering the war in Europe gets mixed up in the assassination of a Dutch diplomat.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall
Nominated for 6 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor

The Constant Nymph (1943)
Airing on Tuesday, February 23rd at 1:30 AM (EST)/12:30 AM (CST)
A composer finds inspiration in his wife’s romantic cousin.
Directed by Edmund Goulding
Starring Charles Boyer, Joan Fontaine, Alexis Smith
Nominated for 1 Oscar for Best Actress

Network (1976)
Airing on Wednesday, February 24th at 12:15 AM (EST)/11:15 PM (CST)
Television programmers turn a deranged news anchor into ‘the mad prophet of the airwaves.’
Directed by Sidney Lumet
Starring Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch
Won 4 Oscars, including Best Actor (Peter Finch), Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actress; Nominated for 6 other Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (William Holden), Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director

Red River (1948)
Airing on Thursday, February 25th at 11:15 PM (EST)/10:15 PM (CST)
A young cowhand rebels against his rancher stepfather during a perilous cattle drive.
Directed by Howard Hawks
Starring John Wayne, Montgomery Clift, Joanne Dru
Nominated for 2 Oscars

Day for Night (1973)
Airing on Friday, February 26th at 3:30 PM (EST)/2:30 PM (CST)
A committed film director struggles to complete his movie while coping with a myriad of crises among the cast and crew.
Directed by François Truffaut
Starring Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Leaud, François Truffaut
Won 1 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film; Nominated for 3 other Oscars including Best Supporting Actress and Best Director

Philadelphia (1993)
Airing on Saturday, February 27th at 2:30 AM (EST)/1:30 AM (CST)
A lawyer sues his firm for firing him because he has AIDS.
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Starring Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Antonio Banderas
Won 2 Oscars, including Best Actor; Nominated for 3 other Oscars

The Apartment (1960)
Airing on Sunday, February 28th at 1:30 PM (EST)/12:30 PM (CST)
An aspiring executive lets his bosses use his apartment for assignations, only to fall for the big chief’s mistress.
Directed by Billy Wilder
Starring Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray
Won 5 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director; Nominated for 5 other Oscars, including Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Supporting Actor

The Strawberry Blonde (1941)
Airing on Monday, February 29th at 10:15 PM (EST)/9:15 PM (CST)
A man’s infatuation with a gold-digging beauty continues after his marriage.
Directed by Raoul Walsh
Starring James Cagney, Olivia De Havilland, Rita Hayworth
Nominated for 1 Oscar

Battleground (1949)
Airing on Tuesday, March 1st at 10 AM (EST)/9 AM (CST)
American soldiers in France fight to survive a Nazi siege just before the Battle of the Bulge.
Directed by William Wellman
Starring Van Johnson, John Hodiak, Ricardo Montalban
Won 2 Oscars; Nominated for 4 other Oscars including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director

Vivacious Lady (1938)
Airing on Wednesday, March 2nd at 12 PM (EST)/11 AM (CST)
After a whirlwind courtship, a nightclub singer has to adjust to her professor husband’s conservative family.
Directed by George Stevens
Starring Ginger Rogers, James Stewart, James Ellison
Nominated for 2 Oscars

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