Did They Get it Right? – Best Picture – Oscars 1949

dtgirbp-1949Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

All the King’s Men
The Heiress
A Letter to Three Wives
Twelve O’clock High

Biggest Snub:

The Third Man

My Overall Thoughts:

This was another ok year of nominees.

Only three films are powerful enough IMHO to have taken home the award:

All the King’s Men does a wonderful job showing what politics can do to a well meaning and decent politician and even back then, everyone loves a good story about politics and corruption.

Battleground showed the horrors of war that were quite recent in people’s memories and is a shocking display of the phrase war is Hell”

A Letter to Three Wives is a very clever concept and manages to balance the humor and seriousness the whole way through.


My Rankings:


  • 5. – The Heiress – Drags too much, but the performances are pretty good.  De Havilland won a Best Actress Oscar for her role.
  • 4. – Twelve O’clock High – Nice aerial shots of real WWII fighting.  Interesting view of the psychological effects of war on soldiers.
  • 3. – All the King’s Men – Amazing performance by Crawford helps elevate this film to a higher status thatn it probably deserves.  The story tho is quite simple, yet very timeless.
  • 2. – A Letter to Three Wives – Excellent writing by Mankiewicz. Both funny and dramatic script done well.
  • 1. – Battleground – Excellent portrayal of the Battle of the Bulge which is even more impressive since it was filmed just a few years after the events happened. The cast is quite good with Johnson giving a great performance. Great to see Montalbon is an earlier role, yet his accent truly gives away who he is.  This isn’t a very graphic war movie due to the time it was filmed yet it still managed to do an amazing job letting us feel both the physical and emotional hardships of these soldiers. Having seen Band of Brothers (2001) and that film’s depiction of similar events, it gives me an even greater appreciation for what they managed to do here.  One of the best (if not THE best) of the five films nominated for Best Picture that year.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – yes and No!  ATKM is a great story about corruption and good intentions in politics, but Battleground is such a powerful film about the horrors of war.  Coming so soon after the war, this was quite groundbreaking at the time, but as great as it is (and deserving of winning), nothing was gonna be able to beat a film about corruption and politics.

Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Picture – Oscars 1949

  1. 12 O’clock High only ok? I would rank it high among the greatest war movies. I think it holds up better than Battleground which, like a lot of older war movies, has too much silliness and unfunny comedy relief, not that doesn’t have its share of effective moments. Oh, and The Third Man, while released in Britain in ’49, wasn’t released in the U.S. until the following year qualifying for the 1950 Oscars where it deservedly won the for black and white cinematography–Robert Krasker’s camera work is stunning–and was nominated for direction and editing. Regardless of the year, it should have been nominated for picture, actor, supporting actor, original screenplay, and score–few movie scores are as recognizable as Anton Karas’ theme.


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