My Overall Thoughts:
Being in the midst of a new World War, the bulk of the films nominated this year dealt with war propaganda but still gave us some great films.
Orson Welles, once again gave us a spectacular film that proves his genius, but the fact that he was unloved by so many makes it easy to see why his film was once again overlooked by the Academy.
(As of now, I have seen each and every Oscar nominated film from 1946 thru the present. Starting with 1945’s nominees, there are movies that I have yet to see, so I will only rank the films that I’ve seen so far and will update as I see the missing films.)
- 10. – The Invaders (49th Parallel)
- 9. – Kings Row
- 8. – The Pied Piper
- 7. – Talk of the Town
- 6. – Yankee Doodle Dandy
- 5. – Wake Island – Really enjoyed the way this was done because it showed so much patriotism. The characters are all typical soldier caricatures but they still manage to effectively get our sympathy. The brutality of the Japanese enemy is shown here quite blatantly and I can understand how this film could get nominated for Best Picture namely due to its depiction of the horrors of war.
- 4. – Mrs. Miniver – Slightly slow moving depiction of WWII from the homefront which was surprisingly filmed in the middle of the war. It’s about perseverance in troubling times and I think it would definitely have been even better had it been made after the war ended than during it.
- 3. – The Magnificent Ambersons – Welles’ followup to Citizen Kane (1941) isn’t as good story wise but it still gives us so much to think about. Great cast helps us understand the societal changes enacted and the effects on their lives. Story has so much insight into how technology can effect society. This story that was written a century ago still has many relevances in modern society. The massive controversies between Welles and the studio make this film a hot topic. I’d love to have been able to see the full uncut version that the studio destroyed.
- 2. – Random Harvest – Such a great premise that works so well. It’s so easy to care for the characters here and the fact that we know what is happening while they are in the dark makes us want to shout at them in order for them to see the truth. Very interesting that a story like this was produced while the war raged on in Europe because of how close to home many of the scenes would hit family members of those fighting abroad. I understand why Mrs. Miniver (1942) was selected over this one as Best Picture in such turbulent times, but I still think this is a much better story of the two films.
- 1. – Pride of the Yankees – Considered one of the best biographical films ever made. Cooper gives an amazing performance as the late Yankee great. The fact that this film had the cooperation and help of family and friends of Gehrig helps made this feel even more realistic. Nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Picture and Actor, but only managed to win 1; Film Editing. The speech at the end is one of the most heartfelt in film history and it’s hard to keep the tears from flowing.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No. Mrs. Miniver does a great job showing us what life was like under war conditions, but TMA once again showed how great a storyteller Welles was. The fact that Welles was always a controversial director makes it understandable that his film, despite being made so well was overlooked once again by the Academy. PotY is also great
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!