Academy Award Rankings

Ranking All The Movies Nominated At The 10th Academy Awards In 1938

The Best Movies From The 10th Academy Awards In 1938

“What are the best movies nominated for the 10th Academy Awards held in 1938?” We looked at all 57 movies nominated for an Oscar in 1938 and ranked them again one another to answer that very question!

We took all 57 movies that were nominated for an Academy Award in 1938 and looked at their Rotten Tomato Critic, Rotten Tomato User, IMDB, and Letterboxd scores, ranking them against one another to see which movies came out on top. The movies are ranked on our list below, with the full chart of rankings included at the bottom of the page. We did not use Metacritic scores because of the lack of data for older movies on that site. Metacritic scores will be included when we do rankings for other years in the future.

If you want to see the rankings for additional years you can visit our Academy Award Rankings page.

Happy Viewing!



The Top 1938 Academy Award Movie Rankings



56 Tie ) Deep South

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel

1937 short film nominated for an Academy Award in the category Best Short Subject, Two Reel.

Purchase / Learn More



56 Tie ) Popular Science

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Color

Raising angora rabbits for wool; new marine navigation and safety technology; kitchen gadgets; developing new rose varieties.

Purchase / Learn More



55 ) Hitting a New High

Nominated For:

  • Best Sound, Recording

Millionaire opera buff Lucius B. Blynn (Edward Everett Horton) heads to Africa after big game and bags himself a coloratura.

Purchase / Learn More



54 ) Wings Over Honolulu

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography

A Navy pilot gets involved in a romantic triangle while stationed in Hawaii.

Purchase / Learn More



53 ) Mr. Dodd Takes the Air

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song

A country bumpkin becomes a singing sensation on the radio.

Purchase / Learn More



52 ) The Man Without a Country

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Color

In this classic story, US Army Lt. Philip Nolan is upset with his assignment to a remote outpost with no possibility for promotion. He intends to join Aaron Burr, who plans to form a new country in the lands west of the Mississippi River. Before he can get away, Nolan is charged with treason. At his court martial, he angrily tells the tribunal that he never wants to see or hear of the United States again. He gets his wish, and is sentenced to permanent, lifetime exile aboard US ships at sea. No crew member can mention anything about the United States within his hearing, and in the books he is allowed to read, all references to the United States are removed.

Purchase / Learn More



49 Tie ) Make a Wish

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Score

Chip Winters (Breen) and his buddy Pee Wee (Lee) are at a summer boys camp in Main. Chip befriends famous composer Johnny Selden (Rathboth), who is suffering from writers block. He becomes inspired by Chip’s single mother Irene (Claire), who is an accomplished retired singer. Johnny soon invites Irene to perform his newest masterpiece. However, Irene’s controlling fiancee Walter (Forbes), will not allow it. It’s up to Chip, Pee Wee, and a bevy of funny friends to play matchmaker, getting Walter out of the picture for good, and Johnny and Irene together.

Purchase / Learn More



49 Tie ) Ready, Willing and Able

Nominated For:

  • Best Dance Direction

Two struggling songwriters team up with an ambitious dancer to take Broadway by storm.

Purchase / Learn More



49 Tie ) Vogues of 1938

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Music, Original Song

An early Technicolor musical that concentrates on the fashions of the late 1930s, this film was reissued under the title All This and Glamour Too. The top models of the era, including several who are advertising household products, are in the cast. The plot centers around a chic boutique, whose owner, George Curson (Warner Baxter), tries hard to please his customers while keeping peace with his unhappy wife. A wealthy young woman, Wendy Van Klettering (Joan Bennett), decides to take a job as a model at the fashion house, just to amuse herself, but her presence annoys Curson, who must put together the best possible show to compete with rival fashion houses at the Seven Arts Ball. The film includes several hit songs, including the Oscar-nominated “That Old Feeling” by Sammy Fain and Lew Brown.

Purchase / Learn More



48 ) Portia on Trial

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Score

Lady lawyer Portia Merryman (Frieda Inescourt) defends woebegone Elizabeth Manners (Heather Angel), who is on trial for shooting her lover Earle Condon (Neil Hamilton). Ironically, Portia herself had once had an affair with Earle’s father, powerful publisher John Condon (Clarence Kolb). She has a pretty good idea of what is going on in Elizabeth’s head, since she herself was on the verge of killing Condon when he ruthlessly took custody of her illegitimate son

Purchase / Learn More



43 Tie ) Educated Fish

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

Most of the little fish at A.B. Sea School for Fish are good students, but one goofs off during the teacher’s lesson about the hook and line.

Purchase / Learn More



43 Tie ) Manhattan Merry-Go-Round

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction

Many amusing cameos highlight this crazy musical about gangsters taking over a record company. Charles Reisner directed an amazing cast, which includes special appearances by cowboy star Gene Autry, baseball legend Joe DiMaggio, and popular bandleader Cab Calloway, plus such familiar faces as Phil Regan, Leo Carrillo, James Gleason, Smiley Burnette, and Ann Dvorak.

Purchase / Learn More



43 Tie ) Penny Wisdom

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Color (Win)

A Pete Smith Specialty short on saving an important dinner after the household’s cook suddenly quits.

Purchase / Learn More



43 Tie ) Torture Money

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel (Win)

Police go after a fraud operation that stages automobile accidents to collect insurance money.

Purchase / Learn More



43 Tie ) You’re a Sweetheart

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction

In this musical, the only one singer/dancer Alice Faye, made for Universal, a Broadway producer is in a quandary when he discovers that the opening of his newest big production coincides with that of a major charity event. He despairs that the show will close after opening night until an ingenious writer suggests that he simply give the production snob-appeal by making the tickets nearly impossible to get by fabricating a story that they were all purchased by a flamboyant Texas oil baron who is totally besotted by the show’s star, Faye.

Purchase / Learn More



42 ) Romance of Radium

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

This Pete Smith Specialty tells the story of the discovery of radium and how it is used in medicine. The difficulty of obtaining the element is also demonstrated. Several tons of ore yield only minute amounts of the element. At the time of filming, the entire world’s supply of radium was 1-3/4 pounds.

Purchase / Learn More



40 Tie ) The Private Life of the Gannets

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel (Win)

A 1934 GB production that was picked up in 1937 by Educational for 20th Century Fox distribution about the gannet, (a beautiful white and exceedingly graceful bird deemed the best fisherman in the world), that inhabits a small rocky island off the coast of Wales.

Purchase / Learn More



40 Tie ) Varsity Show

Nominated For:

  • Best Dance Direction

A 1930s classic from the Warner Brothers archives, Varsity Show is a hilarious romp that follows the students of “Winfield College” as they battle their facility advisor.

Purchase / Learn More



39 ) Waikiki Wedding

Nominated For:

  • Best Dance Direction
  • Best Music, Original Song (Win)

Tony Marvin is a laid back but incredibly successful promoter and fair-haired boy for J. P. Todhunter’s pineapple company located in beautiful Hawaii. He gets the company to sponsor a contest in which the winner gets a Hawaiian vacation and is obligated to write articles on the islands which, when published, will constitute a publicity coup for the company. Unfortunately, Georgia Smith, the winner, feels lonely and isolated in the Islands and wants to return to the States. With help from buddy Shad Buggle Tony tries to romantically divert Georgia without letting her know his true motivation.

Purchase / Learn More



38 ) The Girl Said No

Nominated For:

  • Best Sound, Recording

Jimmie Allen, a shady bookie, is in love with Pearl Proctor, a greedy dance hall girl. He schemes to get her back after she rejects him; and along the way, he revives a failing Gilbert and Sullivan troupe.

Purchase / Learn More



36 Tie ) A Night at the Movies

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

A man and his wife have a less-than-enjoyable time at the movies.

Purchase / Learn More



36 Tie ) Every Day’s a Holiday

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction

Mae West portrays a turn-of-century confidence trickster who poses as a famous French chanteuse to avoid arrest. In this guise, she manages to expose crooked police chief Lloyd Nolan and smooths the path for reform mayoral candidate Edmund Lowe…

Purchase / Learn More



35 ) Thin Ice

Nominated For:

  • Best Dance Direction

Swiss hotel ski instructor (Henie) falls in love with a man (Power) who goes skiing every morning.

Purchase / Learn More



34 ) Artists & Models

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song

An ad man gets his model girlfriend to pose as a debutante for a new campaign.

Purchase / Learn More



33 ) Something to Sing About

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Score

A New York bandleader journeys to Hollywood when he is offered a contract with a studio, but he is determined to do things his way and not theirs.

Purchase / Learn More



31 Tie ) Conquest

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Art Direction

A polish countess becomes Napoleon Bonaparte’s mistress at the urging of Polish leaders, who feel she might influence him to make Poland independent.

Purchase / Learn More



31 Tie ) Quality Street

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Score

In the 1810s, an old maid poses as her own niece in order to teach her onetime beau a lesson.

Purchase / Learn More



30 ) Wells Fargo

Nominated For:

  • Best Sound, Recording

Building the Wells Fargo express service, a trusted official wrecks his marriage.

Purchase / Learn More



29 ) In Old Chicago

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Win)
  • Best Assistant Director (Win)
  • Best Music, Score
  • Best Picture
  • Best Sound, Recording
  • Best Writing, Original Story

Tyrone Power and Don Ameche star in this acclaimed film set in the late 1800s as two embattled brothers swept up in the politics of a city ablaze with greed and corruption.

Purchase / Learn More



28 ) The Little Match Girl

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

A small girl makes her living selling matches on the streets of New York. It’s winter, and the hustling crowds at best ignore her, and some are outright rude. She takes shelter and, to try to stave off the cold a bit, lights a match. It gets blown out; this happens again, then on the third try, she falls into a dream. In this dream, cherubs attend her, she gets a new doll, then a new dress. The cherubs put her on a throne. Then a storm comes, and she goes toward a candle. That candle goes out, and we see that back in the real world, so did her match and her life. An angel comes along and takes her soul.

Purchase / Learn More



27 ) One Hundred Men and a Girl

Nominated For:

  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Music, Score (Win)
  • Best Picture
  • Best Sound, Recording
  • Best Writing, Original Story

The daughter of a struggling musician forms a symphony orchestra made up of his unemployed friends and through persistence, charm and a few misunderstandings, is able to get Leopold Stokowski to lead them in a concert that leads to a radio contract.

Purchase / Learn More



24 Tie ) Ali Baba Goes to Town

Nominated For:

  • Best Dance Direction

While visiting Hollywood a starstruck movie fan (Eddie Cantor) fantasizes about himself cast in an Arabian adventure. Director David Butler’s comedy–with many songs–also features Tony Martin, Roland Young, Gypsy Rose Lee (billed as Rose Hovick), John Carradine, June Lang, Virginia Field, Charles Lane, The Peters Sisters and many big-name guest stars playing themselves.

Purchase / Learn More



24 Tie ) Should Wives Work?

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel

Errol’s wife goes back to work, despite his objections.

Purchase / Learn More



24 Tie ) Souls at Sea

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Assistant Director
  • Best Music, Score

Michael ‘Nuggin’ Taylor and Powdah save lives during a sea tragedy in this story about the slave trade on the high seas during 1842.

Purchase / Learn More



23 ) Black Legion

Nominated For:

  • Best Writing, Original Story

Oscar® winner and screen legend Humphrey Bogart stars as a disgruntled factory worker who is lured into joining the Ku Klux Klan.

Purchase / Learn More



21 Tie ) A Damsel in Distress

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Dance Direction (Win)

Astaire teams up with Burns & Allen to bring some good ol’American music and mayhem to stately England. There, lovely JoanFontaine pines for a husband and finds Astaire.

Purchase / Learn More



21 Tie ) Wee Willie Winkie

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction

Taken by her mother (June Lang) to live in India a young girl (Temple) gradually wins the heart of her feisty grandfather (C. Aubrey Smith), a colonel at a British army outpost. Before long she captures the heart of his entire regiment as well as his chief enemy (Ceasar Romeo), using her considerable charms to prevent a full scale war.

Purchase / Learn More



20 ) The Hurricane

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Music, Score
  • Best Sound, Recording (Win)

The Hurricane is a 1937 film set in the South Seas, directed by John Ford and produced by Samuel Goldwyn, about a Polynesian who is unjustly imprisoned. The climax features a special effects hurricane. It stars Dorothy Lamour and Jon Hall, with Mary Astor, C. Aubrey Smith, Thomas Mitchell, Raymond Massey, and John Carradine. James Norman Hall, Jon Hall’s uncle, co-wrote the novel of the same name on which The Hurricane is based. As a passenger ship sails by a bleak, deserted island, Dr. Kersaint (Thomas Mitchell) blows his former home a kiss. When a fellow passenger asks him about the place, he tells its tragic story, segueing into a flashback.

Purchase / Learn More



19 ) The Life of Emile Zola

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Win)
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Assistant Director
  • Best Director
  • Best Music, Score
  • Best Picture (Win)
  • Best Sound, Recording
  • Best Writing, Original Story
  • Best Writing, Screenplay (Win)

The story of one of the world’s greatest writers, a man who proved thatone voice can overcome injustice and change the course of a nation isimmortalized in The Life of Emile Zola.

Purchase / Learn More



18 ) Night Must Fall

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role

When a rich but cantankerous dowager on an isolated estates hires an engaging handyman, her niece/companion becomes suspicious of his motives.

Purchase / Learn More



17 ) Dead End

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Picture

This film introduced the Dead End Kids in their intricate East Side slum, overlooked by the apartments of the rich. Their antics, some funny, some vicious, alternate with subplots: unemployed architect Dave is torn between Drina, sweet but equally poor, and Kay, a rich man’s mistress; gangster Baby Face Martin returns to his old neighborhood and finds that nobody is glad to see him. Then violent crime, both juvenile and adult, impacts the neighborhood and its people.

Purchase / Learn More



16 ) The Old Mill

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons (Win)

We see the various birds, mice, and bats that have moved into an old windmill, followed by the frogs, crickets, and fireflies making their music in an adjacent pond. Then a storm comes, shaking loose parts in mill and threatening everything we’ve seen.

Purchase / Learn More



15 ) Maytime

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Score
  • Best Sound, Recording

One of the top-grossing films of 1937, Maytime is the poignant, glorious musical that has long been acknowledged as a supreme masterpiece of its genre.

Purchase / Learn More



14 ) Topper

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Sound, Recording

Madcap couple George and Marion Kerby are killed in an automobile accident. They return as ghosts to try and liven up the regimented lifestyle of their friend and bank president, Cosmo Topper. When Topper starts to live it up, it strains relations with his stuffy wife.

Purchase / Learn More



13 ) The Good Earth

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role (Win)
  • Best Cinematography (Win)
  • Best Director
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Picture

Paul Muni stars in this epic adaptation of the Pearl Buck classic about Chinese farmers battling the elements to survive.

Purchase / Learn More



12 ) Camille

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role

In gambling dens and lavish soirees, men of means exert their wills and women turned courtesans exult in pleasure.

Purchase / Learn More



11 ) Stella Dallas

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Barbara Stanwyck is Stella Martin, a loud, vulgar factory-town girl who snares wealthy husband Stephen Dallas . When Stephen is offered a job in New York, Stella stays behind, knowing that she’ll never be part of her husband’s social circle. She pals around platonically with her old beau, the cheap and tasteless Ed Munn, a fact that drives yet another wedge between Stella and her husband. The final straw is daughter Laurel’s birthday party, which is boycotted by the local bluenoses. Though she would like to remain part of her daughter’s life, Stella knows that she and she alone is the reason that Laurel is shunned by the rest of the community.

Purchase / Learn More



10 ) Shall We Dance

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song

A ballet dancer and a showgirl fake a marriage for publicity purposes, then fall in love.

Purchase / Learn More



9 ) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Score

Walt Disney’s Classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is celebrated the world over for its timeless story, iconic characters and unforgettable music. Share this film with your family and celebrate Snow White’s happily ever after again and again!

Purchase / Learn More



8 ) A Star Is Born

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Assistant Director
  • Best Director
  • Best Picture
  • Best Writing, Original Story (Win)
  • Best Writing, Screenplay

From maverick filmmaker William A. Wellman (The Public Enemy, Nothing Sacred) comes the original, timeless tale of Hollywood fantasy and heartbreak: A STAR IS BORN.

Purchase / Learn More



7 ) The Prisoner of Zenda

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction
  • Best Music, Score

An Englishman on a Ruritarian holiday must impersonate the king when the rightful monarch, a distant cousin, is drugged and kidnapped.

Purchase / Learn More



6 ) Lost Horizon

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Art Direction (Win)
  • Best Assistant Director
  • Best Film Editing (Win)
  • Best Music, Score
  • Best Picture
  • Best Sound, Recording

A timeless masterpiece starring Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt in the lavishly-produced vision of Shangri-La.

Purchase / Learn More



5 ) The Awful Truth

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Director (Win)
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Picture
  • Best Writing, Screenplay

Unfounded suspicions lead a married couple to begin divorce proceedings, whereupon they start undermining each other’s attempts to find new romance.

Purchase / Learn More



4 ) Stage Door

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Director
  • Best Picture
  • Best Writing, Screenplay

Ginger Rogers & Ann Miller tap in time & rat-a-tat lines. Lucille Ball braves a date with an obnoxious lumber baron.

Purchase / Learn More



2 Tie ) A Day at the Races

Nominated For:

  • Best Dance Direction

Doctor Hugo Hackenbush, Tony, and Stuffy try to save Judy’s farm bywinning a big race with her horse.

Purchase / Learn More



2 Tie ) Captains Courageous

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role (Win)
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Picture
  • Best Writing, Screenplay

A wealthy spoiled brat falls off an ocean liner and is rescued by a Portuguese fisherman. Forced to endure a three month voyage, he learns to love the sea and earns his place among the crew.

Purchase / Learn More



1 ) Way Out West

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Score

From the digitally restored sound era films of the Hal Roach library: Laurel and Hardy are ordered with the task of delivering the deed to a valuable gold mine to the daughter of a dead prospector. However standing in the way is the daughter’s evil guardian Mickey Finn and his brassy saloon singing wife Lola who are determined to have the gold mine for themsleves.

Purchase / Learn More



The Best 10th Academy Award Rankings



1938 Academy Award Rankings

Film RT Critic RT User IMDB Letterboxd Overal Rank
Way Out West 1 1 9 4 1
A Day at the Races 1 2 9 7 2
Captains Courageous 10 4 1 4 2
Stage Door 7 6 6 1 4
The Awful Truth 11 4 5 1 5
Lost Horizon 1 11 6 7 6
The Prisoner of Zenda 1 12 9 7 7
A Star Is Born 1 14 12 7 8
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 6 14 12 7 9
Shall We Dance 14 7 12 7 10
Stella Dallas 15 9 15 4 11
Camille 11 9 15 13 12
The Good Earth 8 16 6 19 13
Topper 8 12 17 14 14
Maytime 21 2 17 14 15
The Old Mill 21 34 1 1 16
Dead End 13 17 17 14 17
Night Must Fall 21 8 20 14 18
The Life of Emile Zola 18 18 20 19 19
The Hurricane 21 23 20 14 20
A Damsel in Distress 17 20 26 19 21
Wee Willie Winkie 21 19 23 19 21
Black Legion 21 24 24 19 23
Ali Baba Goes to Town 21 34 1 34 24
Should Wives Work? 21 34 1 34 24
Souls at Sea 21 24 26 19 24
One Hundred Men and a Girl 16 26 26 26 27
The Little Match Girl 21 34 24 19 28
In Old Chicago 19 27 26 29 29
Wells Fargo 21 34 31 26 30
Conquest 21 28 31 33 31
Quality Street 20 29 35 29 31
Something to Sing About 21 29 38 26 33
Artists & Models 21 21 41 34 34
Thin Ice 21 32 31 34 35
A Night at the Movies 21 34 35 29 36
Every Day’s a Holiday 21 34 30 34 36
The Girl Said No 21 34 31 34 38
Waikiki Wedding 21 22 46 34 39
The Private Life of the Gannets 21 34 35 34 40
Varsity Show 21 31 38 34 40
Romance of Radium 21 34 38 34 42
Educated Fish 21 34 46 29 43
Manhattan Merry-Go-Round 21 34 41 34 43
Penny Wisdom 21 34 41 34 43
Torture Money 21 34 41 34 43
You’re a Sweetheart 21 34 41 34 43
Portia on Trial 21 34 46 34 48
Make a Wish 21 34 49 34 49
Ready, Willing and Able 21 32 51 34 49
Vogues of 1938 21 34 49 34 49
The Man Without a Country 21 34 51 34 52
Mr. Dodd Takes the Air 21 34 53 34 53
Wings Over Honolulu 21 34 54 34 54
Hitting a New High 21 34 55 34 55
Deep South 21 34 56 34 56
Popular Science 21 34 56 34 56

You Might Also Like