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YMMV / Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

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  • Award Snub: A lot of people think that Jimmy Stewart should have won the Academy Award for his performance as Jeff Smith. Even the Academy seemed to feel guilty for not giving Stewart the award, because they gave him Best Actor the very next year for his performance in The Philadelphia Story, which most people agree wasn't as good. On a side note, quite a few people wanted Claude Rains to win Best Supporting Actor. And Jean Arthur, perhaps owing to her frosty relationship with the studio and the press, wasn't even nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Senator Paine has gathered a fanbase for being an accurate portrayal of how corrupt politicians can be seen as, and being a sympathetic anti-villain who lost his initial zest and is now a jaded shell of his former heroic self, giving him some depth and saving him from being a standard one-dimensional villain. Plus Rains put in an amazing performance to this character.
    • The President of the Senate barely gets any screen time and a minor role in the story, but Harry Carey's performance really made it count, plus he gave Smith some confidence right when things seemed hopeless, and is a funny comic relief character.
  • Memetic Mutation:Jefferson Smith turning towards the Lincoln Memorial and looking at the Gettysburg Address nearby.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Sure, it's anvilicious, but it's a pretty darn good anvil: It's worth it to fight for truth and justice against political corruption, even when it looks like a lost cause.
  • Values Resonance: A tale of corruption in the highest body of law is more relevant in the post-Watergate era than it was in the 1930s.
    • The speech about the number of hoops a congressman has to jump through or work on to accomplish anything certainly resonates well with viewers after the United States suffered a government shut-down in 2013 simply because Congress was unable to agree on a national budget.
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    • The political majority running a hugely biased media crusade against the opposition? Sounds familiar...
  • The Woobie: Jefferson Smith. He just wants Truth, Justice and the American Way! But Washington just isn't run that way anymore.


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