Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

In his opinion: What Should’ve Won the Best Picture Oscar – 1940 to 1949 ?


cinecrazydc
 Share

Recommended Posts

This is an opinion piece from a regularly-published news source, but I won't reveal its title/author because some will focus more on the source than the content.   I thought that the choices the author gave were interesting and the rationales fairly solid, especially with regard to such films as  Casablanca and The Best Years of Our Lives.    Be interesting to get the take of the message board community on the choices.  

UNSPECIFIED - 1941: Photo of Humphrey Bogart in 'The Maltese Falcon'. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In part three of this series, we look at the movies that should have won the Best Picture Oscar between 1940 and 1949.

Let’s begin…

1940

  • What Did Win: Rebecca

While director Alfred Hitchcock never won a competitive Oscar, his first American film did win a Best Picture Oscar and launched a career that would ride success after success right into the ’70s, including on television.

Rebecca is remembered today as something of a stiff. Well, it’s not. What we have here is a masterpiece of mood and mystery anchored by a breathtaking performance from Joan Fontaine, in her first starring role.

If you give this one a chance, if you shut off the lights and turn off your phone, Rebecca will transport and thrill.

  • What Should’ve Won: The Grapes of Wrath

John Ford’s stunning adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel has lost none of its power. The director (who won his second of a still-record four Best Director Oscars) brilliantly shaped Steinbeck’s dark work into something all his own: the story of a family that will never give up on themselves or the future.

 

1941

  • What Did Win: How Green Was My Valley

Ford won his second Best Director Oscar in a row with this lovely and enduring story about a Welsh coal mining family facing the end of their way of life at the hands of the inevitable march of time. 

As much as I admire Valley, time has proven The Maltese FalconSergeant York, and Citizen Kane) to be superior titles.

  • What Should’ve Won: The Maltese Falcon

Depending on the day you ask, I could award the Oscar to both Sergeant York and Citizen Kane. Today, though, feels like a Maltese Falcon kind of day. John Huston’s directorial debut set the tone for hard-boiled detective films for the next eight decades and serves up a dream cast of Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Ward Bond, Barton MacLane, Elisha Cook Jr., and Huston’s own father, Walter, in a small role.

The dialogue, the relationships, the mystery and mood, along with Bogie’s final decision, all remain iconic.

 

1942

  • What Did Win: Miniver

A still beautiful and affecting film about a rural English family determined to survive the war. A movie about faith, family, and loss that sticks with you long after the lights go up.

  • What Should’ve Won: The Magnificent Ambersons

To the end of his life, director Orson Welles (who also narrates) complained about the studio hacking his second movie to pieces. Well, whatever they did, it works. A stunning work of art from Welles, gorgeously shot and edited with superb performances.

I’m not a member of the Welles’ cult. In fact, I think his later works, other than Touch of Evil, are a bit of a slog. Ambersons, however, is every bit the movie Citizen Kane is, and in some ways better.

 

1943

  • What Did Win: Casablanca

What we have here is pure studio magic that only improves with age; something insanely rewatchable and filled with unforgettable characters and dialogue.

  • What Should’ve Won: Casablanca

Duh.

 

1944

  • What Did Win: Going My Way

Few things are as iconic as Bing Crosby and Christmas and Bing Crosby as Father O’Malley. Going My Way offers both and was a major blockbuster hit in its day. Nearly 80 years later it still enchants, although it does feel about 15 minutes too long.

  • What Should’ve Won: Double Indemnity

Billy Wilder directs Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray to immortality in this gripping tale of murder, sex, and betrayal. Not to be missed.

 

1945

  • What Did Win: The Lost Weekend

As if to make up for the Academy’s Double Indemnity mistake, director Billy Wilder won Best Picture and Best Director with this now rather creaky tale of alcoholism.

  • What Should’ve Won: Mildred Pierce

Joan Crawford won a long overdue Oscar in this timeless adaptation of James M. Cain’s potboiler about a mother who sacrifices everything for a spoiled daughter. A perfect melodrama that improves with each viewing.

 

1946

  • What Did Win: The Best Years of Our Lives

Legendary independent producer Samuel Goldwyn finally won his Oscar for this unflinching look at the much-changed world our veterans returned to after saving that same world from German fascism and Japanese imperialism.

Goldwyn understood the power of movies and utilized that power to help the public understand that every American has a responsibility to the transition for those who protect our way of life.

A movie filled with heart, heartbreak, hope, and unforgettable performances.

  • What Should’ve Won: The Best Years of Our Lives

Even during a year that delivered It’s a Wonderful Life, The Jolson Story, The Razor’s Edge, The Big Sleep, My Darling Clementine, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Song of the South, and The Yearling, it’s hard to argue Oscar didn’t make the correct choice.

 

1947

  • What Did Win: Gentleman’s Agreement

A perfectly agreeable piece of issue-filmmaking examining the ugly underworld of American antisemitism., but were it not for the presence of The Mighty John Garfield, I wouldn’t even rank it as “agreeable.”

  • What Should’ve Won: Nightmare Alley

A stunner of a tale where Tyrone Power proves he was much more than a pretty face as an unscrupulous carnival worker willing to do anything to make something of himself.

What an ending.

 

1948

  • What Did Win: Hamlet

Laurence Olivier’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s most famous play has largely been forgotten. All I remember about it is a lot of talking.

  • What Should’ve Won: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

John Huston directed himself to Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay Oscars — and his father Walter to a Best Supporting Actor trophy — in this timeless adventure story about the poison of greed. Humphrey Bogart is nothing short of a knock-out and should have taken home his own Little Gold Man.

Overlooking Sierra Madre for Best Picture is, in my opinion, one of Oscar’s most embarrassing flubs.

 

1949

  • What Did Win: All the King’s Men

A timeless story of political and media corruption anchored by Broderick Crawford’s Oscar-winning performance.

  • What Should’ve Won: Battleground

Part of me wants to cheat and declare 1949 a three-way tie between Battleground, On the Town, and White Heat.

Today I’m choosing William Wellman’s World War II stunner about a regiment facing the Battle of the Bulge all alone in a lilting fog that is part dream and part nightmare. Battleground has never received its due, probably because it was so far ahead of its time, but it’s an all-timer, practically an art film, and one no one should miss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-01-01%2Bat%2B5.57.5

My list:
1. THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940)
2. CITIZEN KANE (1941)
3. MRS. MINIVER (1942)
4. SO PROUDLY WE HAIL! (1943)
5. THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER (1944)
6. BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1945)
7. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)
8. CROSSFIRE (1947)
9. ALL MY SONS (1948)
10. THE HEIRESS (1949)

Screen shot 2017-12-08 at 1.31.26 PM.png

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Screen%2Bshot%2B2016-01-01%2Bat%2B5.57.5

My list:
1. THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940)
2. CITIZEN KANE (1941)
3. MRS. MINIVER (1942)
4. SO PROUDLY WE HAIL! (1943)
5. THE WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER (1944)
6. BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1945)
7. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)
8. CROSSFIRE (1947)
9. ALL MY SONS (1948)
10. THE HEIRESS (1949)

TB - Looks like you were already locked and loaded with your response !!  Not much overlap with the author of the piece, but I can certainly see your rationale with Miniver, BYOOL, and The Heiress.  Also, FYI, I don't necessarily agree with all his choices either !!!  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, cinecrazydc said:

TB - Looks like you were already locked and loaded with your response !!  Not much overlap with the author of the piece, but I can certainly see your rationale with Miniver, BYOOL, and The Heiress.  Also, FYI, I don't necessarily agree with all his choices either !!!  

I don't agree with his choice of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS (1942). It's a butchered film and a Best Picture winner should be more coherent.

I also think he's overrating NIGHTMARE ALLEY (1947).

THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940) has that revised ending. It is not faithful to Steinbeck's original material, which is a shame, because until the last ten minutes, it's a brilliant movie.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Revised ending nonwithstanding,  I feel TGOW was brilliant to the end.  That a Hollywood movie production wasn't faithful to the source material(Steinbeck's novel in this case) was and still is par for the course in the movie biz,   But of course, if the original book ending was used, it would have been a very interesting challenge for Ford to shoot.  ;)   And really, not until the '70's would any film maker be able to put it down on film.  

Sepiatone

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting topic. One could go through the entire history of the Academy Awards and perform an alternate Oscar for Best Picture...

Here are my choices:

1940:  The Grapes of Wrath

1941:  Citizen Kane

1942:  The Talk of the Town

1943:  Casablanca

1944:  Double Indemnity

1945:  They Were Expendable

1946:  The Best Years of Our Lives

1947:   Odd Man Out

1948:  Red River

1949:  Twelve O'Clock High

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

Revised ending nonwithstanding,  I feel TGOW was brilliant to the end.  That a Hollywood movie production wasn't faithful to the source material(Steinbeck's novel in this case) was and still is par for the course in the movie biz,   But of course, if the original book ending was used, it would have been a very interesting challenge for Ford to shoot.  ;)   And really, not until the '70's would any film maker be able to put it down on film.  

Sepiatone

I don't think the final scene is brilliant. I think it's very subpar. They lose me with the last scene. It's overly sentimental, very contrived and just goes against the tone of the story and the whole film up to that point.

They didn't have to film the last part of Steinbeck's novel if it was going to cause problems with the production code office.

I would have just ended it with Tom leaving, on the run. We did not need to see Ma philosophizing in the truck. 

The production code office was not against bleak, ambiguous or unhappy endings. But the studio felt it would increase box office to have an uplifting ending and that just doesn't fit this story. 

When I have shown this movie to some of my classes, I deliberately stop it before the last scene and don't show the last scene to my students because it doesn't ring true to me and I feel it does an incredible disservice to Steinbeck as a writer. He was not telling the story of the Waltons with the Joad family.

I can appreciate that some like the schmaltzy sugarcoated ending. But I do not, and hopefully others will appreciate my point of view.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, Vidor said:

"The Lost Weekend" is way better than "Mildred Pierce".

 

Screening a movie for students and refusing to show them the end seems very strange for me.

That's your opinion. But I don't think that's the right end for the story. It was invented by the screenwriter (Nunnally Johnson) and I feel it's best not to use it.

I think it is more authentic to just use Steinbeck's material up to the point where the screenwriter deviates. 

If anything is strange, to me, it's the fact that the screenwriter made the Joads so suddenly uncharacteristic in that final scene which is not in keeping with Steinbeck's conception of the characters or their themes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1940: The Philadelphia Story
1941: How Green Was My Valley
1942: Yankee Doodle Dandy
1943: Casablanca
1944: A Canterbury Tale
1945: The Lost Weekend
1946: The Best Years of Our Lives
1947: The Bishop's Wife
1948: The Red Shoes
1949: The Heiress

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just going by what was actually nominated those years:

1940: The Letter
1941: Citizen Kane
1942: The Pride Of The Yankees
1943: The Ox Bow Incident
1944: Double Indemnity
1945: The Lost Weekend
1946: The Yearling
1947: Miracle On 34th Street
1948: The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre
1949: The Heiress

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, TopBilled said:

I don't think the final scene is brilliant. I think it's very subpar. They lose me with the last scene. It's overly sentimental, very contrived and just goes against the tone of the story and the whole film up to that point.

They didn't have to film the last part of Steinbeck's novel if it was going to cause problems with the production code office.

I would have just ended it with Tom leaving, on the run. We did not need to see Ma philosophizing in the truck. 

The production code office was not against bleak, ambiguous or unhappy endings. But the studio felt it would increase box office to have an uplifting ending and that just doesn't fit this story. 

When I have shown this movie to some of my classes, I deliberately stop it before the last scene and don't show the last scene to my students because it doesn't ring true to me and I feel it does an incredible disservice to Steinbeck as a writer. He was not telling the story of the Waltons with the Joad family.

I can appreciate that some like the schmaltzy sugarcoated ending. But I do not, and hopefully others will appreciate my point of view.

We'll just have to agree to disagree.   As the novel doesn't end with Tom's departure and the novel's ending couldn't be used, I thought Johnson's ending succinct and clear in leaving the audience with a sense of who the Joads really were(Ma at least) and how they might wind up,  and somewhat uplifting in the mention of the perseverance of "the people".  And that "men live by jerks" speech seemed "Steinbeck-like" to me.  ;)

Sepiatone

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

We'll just have to agree to disagree.   As the novel doesn't end with Tom's departure and the novel's ending couldn't be used, I thought Johnson's ending succinct and clear in leaving the audience with a sense of who the Joads really were(Ma at least) and how they might wind up,  and somewhat uplifting in the mention of the perseverance of "the people".  And that "men live by jerks" speech seemed "Steinbeck-like" to me.  ;)

Sepiatone

Sorry. It doesn't work for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1940: The Grapes of Wrath

-y4V2-.gif

1941: Sergeant York

tumblr_pny5n26GOV1y5gom0o1_400.gifv

1942: Gentleman Jim

tumblr_mnzxa4vxyD1snx77eo1_500.gif

1943: Casablanca

TQHjyJm.gif

1944: Laura

tumblr_nfgyedmyy21sr1ki0o1_500.gif

1945: The Lost Weekend

c6b4e3a4d142507d794dacde4ce2ab87ece60e1b

1946: The Best Years of Our Lives

giphy.gif

1947: Nightmare Alley

fd3e13e5ce060411f7b7e10a63d1622f.gif

1948: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

source.gif

1949: The Third Man

s-af55418a18182b338d85a8e961858ceed9ddbe

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the Academy got it right for 6 years in the 1940s:

1940: The Grapes of Wrath                                                 

1941:  Citizen Kane

1942:  The Magnificent Ambersons

1943:  Casablanca   (Premiered in NYC on 11 .26.1942, but released  nationally on 01.23.1943)

1944:  Double Indemnity

1945:  The Lost Weekend

1946:  The Best Years of Our Lives

1947:  Gentleman's Agreement

1948:  Hamlet

1949:  All the King's Men

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Sepiatone said:

Was just yankin' the chain there a bit TB.  Relax.  ;) 

Sepiatone

Actually it's part of a pattern that you seem to have, where you can't let me voice an opinion that you don't share. So then you lapse into borderline bullying. You've done it many times on different threads and today I decided to stand up to it.

  • Confused 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's really rich when a poster who loves to play the role of victim at the drop of a hat has a posting history on these boards of having tried to change the direction of other posters' threads (for the "improvement" of the thread, he claimed) and continued to do so even after the OP of that thread asked him to stop.

Pardon me if I don't burst out in tears when that same double standard poster now says that he is being "bullied."

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, TomJH said:

It's really rich when a poster who loves to play the role of victim at the drop of a hat has a posting history on these boards of having tried to change the direction of other poster's threads (for the "improvement" of the thread, he claimed) and continued to do so even after the OP of that thread asked him to stop.

Pardon me if I don't burst out in tears when that same double standard poster now says that he is being "bullied."

Agreed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/19/2021 at 1:02 PM, TopBilled said:

When I have shown this movie to some of my classes, I deliberately stop it before the last scene and don't show the last scene to my students because it doesn't ring true to me and I feel it does an incredible disservice to Steinbeck as a writer. He was not telling the story of the Waltons with the Joad family.

I can appreciate that some like the schmaltzy sugarcoated ending. But I do not, and hopefully others will appreciate my point of view.

Not knowing what class you taught, I wonder if showing your students the ending of The Grapes of Wrath and having them read and compare it to the conclusion of the book would have generated some interesting discussions or been a good topic for a paper.   Did any of your students object to not being able to watch the ending?

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...