Regardless, Gone with the Wind is a touch overrated, with Mr. Smith Goes to Washington AND The Wizard of Oz extremely so. If anything, the best of the best of 1939 is the Citizen Kane of all chick flicks, 1939's The Women (NOT the remake).
What won: Rebecca
What should have won: Fantasia
Runner ups include: Foreign Correspondent, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Dictator, The Letter, Pinocchio, The Philadelphia Story, and The Thief of Bagdad
A common misconception is that either Grapes of Wrath or Philadelphia Story won Best Picture in 1940. Neither is true. Instead, the true Best Picture winner of 1940 was a little film by Alfred Hitchcock, and trust me when I say that, inspite of how good a year 1940 was, this was perhaps his weakest of all of his movies (not that that's saying much).
Again, a ton of truly great movies in 1940; Grapes of Wrath, Philadelphia Story, Foreign Correspondent, The Great Dictator, and Pinocchio just to name a few. But if I were to choose which film won Best Picture in 1940, I would have to give it to the pure embodiment of art in film itself, Fantasia.
What won: How Green Was My Valley
What should have won: Citizen Kane (of course)
My personal favorite: The Maltese Falcon
An interesting story here. Even though this is one of the greatest films ever made and deserved to win Best Picture, there's only one problem: It won for 1943 when it was a 1942 movie. Therefore, it should have won for 1942 rather than 1943.
What won (instead of the year before): Casablanca
What should have won: Shadow of a Doubt
Even compared to the Disney version of 1991 (which I like a great deal), this is one of the truly great fantasy films of all time. So many fantasy that was snubbed in the past, but at the bare minimum, this should have been the first pure fantasy film to have taken home top honors.
Oh, and did I mention I find It's a Wonderful Life to be overrated? Good, but overrated.
What won: Gentleman's Agreement
What should have won: The Bishop's Wife
All style, and literally no substance. Heck, there isn't even a story to this movie, or any real characters. It's just stylish--albeit dated--musical numbers over cheesy sets in technicolor. And it won Best Picture over A Streetcar Named Desire!? Feh!
Yes, I am selecting this film as being superior to A Streetcar Named Desire because let's face it; that film is dated and overacted too. And this is one of the greatest Science Fiction films ever made.
Consider this to be a work in progress, but the general idea is that I will be covering each and every year from 1927 to the present year what I consider to be the right choices on what truly was the Best Picture of a given year. It doesn't matter if the film was nominated; all that matters is that it was the better film (it just has to be given a base release of a given year).
So, with that said, here is my list of my Alterate Best Picture Winners!