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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

31 Days of Oscar on TCM

February marks another installment of "31 Days of Oscar," TCM's annual month-long presentation of films that have either won or been nominated for an Academy Award. Yes, February only has 28 days (sometimes 29), so how do the folks at TCM do 31 days of movies? Well, they cheat. It's a long story, but the celebration use to take place in a longer month. So, even though they changed the month, they didn't want to change the name of the special programming. Hey, look at that! Wasn't such a long story after all.

As a guide for finding your favorite films or discovering new ones throughout the month, TCM is presenting featured films based on the categories in which they were awarded or nominated. For example Best Special Effects nominees and winners show with other films from various years that were also nominated or won for Best Special Effects, and so on. All primetime showings will feature only award-winning films for at least one of the categories for which they were nominated. Got it? The TCM highlights for the week of February 26, 2018 include the Best Picture winners Braveheart, Kramer vs. Kramer, An American in Paris, On the Waterfront, and The Bridge on the River Kwai. That is an incredible week long lineup of some of the absolute best Best Picture winners ever. However, the film I'm most excited about is the 1946 Best Picture winner, The Best Years of Our Lives, which airs Monday, February 26 at 8:00 p.m. (ET).

The story seems simple enough. Three returning servicemen fight to adjust to life after World War II. Like many veterans, they return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. Each man is from a different station of society, so there experiences are very different, and yet very familiar to all veterans. Two time Academy Award winner Fredric March is an influential banker who finds it difficult to reconcile his loyalties to ex-servicemen with the goals of the bank for which he works. Hunky Dana Andrews was an ordinary working man before the war who achieved the rank of Captain in the Air Force. He now finds it difficult to hold down a job or pick up the threads of his marriage. And then there's first time actor and real-life amputee, Harold Russell. Having had both hands burnt off during the war, Homer is worried that his fiancée's love hasn't transitioned to pity. Each veteran faces a crisis, and each represents the experiences of many Americans when they came marching home.

A must-see on any one's list, The Best Years of Our Lives is a film that will resonate with all audiences as a deeply moving expression of the human experience in a time of incomprehensible trauma. Don't miss your chance to see it this month on TCM.

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