This book is one that all film buffs will not only greet with pleasure but will hasten to add to their reference library.
How comprehensive is the book? Add to complete cast and credit lists, the most exhaustive production notes. These latter include complete information on all literary sources, plus complete lists of remakes and sequels, release dates and title changes.
A useful but enjoyable feature in this survey of award-winners from 1927 through 1939, is that each entry not only provides details of the award itself but of the rival contenders. Selecting an example at random, we learn that Robert Donat, who won the award for Best Actor in 1939 for his performance in the title role of Goodbye Mr Chips, was challenged by Clark Gable, Sir Laurence Olivier, James Stewart, and Mickey Rooney (Mickey Rooney, would you believe?) for their roles in Gone With The Wind, Wuthering Heights, Mr Smith Goes To Washington and Babes in Arms respectively.
Of course Gone With The Wind is also included in this book. That film won most of the 1939 awards. Wuthering Heights, however, won the 1939 award for Best Photography, and therefore is also described in Reid’s book. And Reid notes that it was Wuthering Heights and not Gone With The Wind that the New York Film Critics jointly selected as the Best Motion Picture of 1939.
Would you believe Babes in Arms likewise has an honored place in Reid’s book, even though it is generally omitted from similar accounts by other movie historians? The reason for its inclusion here is the Special Award (a miniature statuette) given to Judy Garland for “her outstanding performances as a screen juvenile in Babes in Arms and The Wizard of Oz.”
Needless to say, The Wizard of Oz also figures in this excellent book, which goes to show just how comprehensive it actually is. Admittedly, there are exclusions as some award-winners like Glorious Betsy, The Dove and The Bridge of San Luis Rey are reportedly "lost". It’s a pity they were not included anyway. In a future edition, if films like these are still numbered among the missing, perhaps the author could provide some details of their production and release.