Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1954

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Humphrey Bogart (The Caine Mutiny)
Marlon Brando (On the Waterfront)
Bing Crosby (The Country Girl)
James Mason (A Star Is Born)
Dan O’Herlihy (Adventures of Robinson Crusoe)

Biggest Snub:

James Stewart – Rear Window

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year with 5 great performances and any of them would have worthy of taking home gold on their own accord but Brando and Bogart are the best of the 5 by a slight margin.

My Rankings:

Acting Performances

5. Bing Crosby
4. James Mason
3. Dan O’Herlihy
2. Humphrey Bogart
1. Marlon Brando


5. Robinson CrusoeGreat story that is told really well. O’Herlihy does an amazing job keeping the audience’s attention as he is completely onscreen alone for the majority of this film. The narration helps keep us believing in the sanity of the main actor because it helps also reflect the thoughts and passages from the novel.  The story itself doesn’t age so well and there are some better desert island films that have been made ever since, but this still is fascinating to watch unfold depsite the comical aspects.
4. A Star Is BornNice adaptation of this story but as good as it is, it still isn’t as good as the original.  Garland and Mason were both nominated for Oscars for their roles, but neither manages to win despite giving great performances.  The story is definitely timeless and the fact that it has been remade numerous times (including a new version to come out this year) says so much about the storyline.  I believe that the musical aspects of this film don’t help it as much as it probably did when it came out during the decade of musicals.
3. The Country GirlAll 3 leads are great here and they all do a wonderful job making their characters feel real. Amazing dialogue helps this film move along at a great pace. Kelly won Best Actress for this film and she truly deserved it because of the emotional range of her character. This story manages to give us characters with lots of psychological baggage and we get to see how it effects everything they do in life.
2. On the WaterfrontShould be seen on it’s own merit and not for underlying themes. Excellent acting. Brando is exceptional here. The parallels to what was going on in Hollywood at the time is done really well.
1. The Caine MutinyGreat story that asks the age old question of who is more fit for command; a man with experience on paper or in the field? The top notch cast helps make this so enjoyable to watch. It can easily been seen how numerous other movies about command decisions in battle borrowed from this movie’s message. The questions raised here by Wouk are very adaptable to other real life situations.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  Brando is superb in this role and does a wonderful job playing a ole that is two-fold since the underlying themes of the film reflect everything that was going on in both Hollywood and Washington at that time.

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

4 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1954

  1. Brando was electric in Waterfront. Agree on that. But you really think that Grace Kelly in The Country Girl deserved her award more than Garland in A Star Is Born? And you think that the original – with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March (which I’ve seen on a movie screen, along with every version done so far) – is better than the musical 1954 version with Garland and Mason? Sorry. Disagree there.

    Liked by 1 person

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