Directed by: Harry Beaumont
Starring: Charles King, Anita Page, and Bessie Love
Plot: A pair of Midwest Vaudeville performers look to get their big break on Broadway.
Thoughts: This film is often considered the first modern musical despite only three occasions of spontaneous song, two of those being somewhat functional. This was apparently the best the 1928-1929 consideration period had to offer, according to the Academy. Given the other nominees, I would have to agree.
Of all the films nominated, The Broadway Melody does stand out as being the most polished out of the nominees that year. It's not a vehicle for a single actor like In Old Arizona or Alibi nor does it rely on spectacle like The Hollywood Revue of 1929. Since The Patriot was essentially a silent, that means a talking film would have an edge.
As for the film itself, it's okay. It had a fairly predictable story and decent characters. It's certainly not a terrible way to waste 90 minutes, but it's nothing you haven't seen before. Whereas in 1929, this would have been awesome. The technical achievement for the era was unmistakable. So successful was this film, that it spawned four "sequels" of sorts and was parodied in dog form as The Dogway Melody (which you can see on the 2005 DVD release).
While Best Motion Picture was the only statuette The Broadway Melody took home, the film was also nominated for Best Actress (Bessie Love) and Best Director. Best Actress that year went to Mary Pickford in Coquette while Frank Lloyd received the Best Director nod for the silent The Divine Lady (one of the few times the Best Director did not direct a Best Picture nominee).