Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1952

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Marlon Brando (Viva Zapata!)
Gary Cooper (High Noon)
Kirk Douglas (The Bad and the Beautiful)
José Ferrer (Moulin Rouge)
Alec Guinness (The Lavender Hill Mob)

Biggest Snub:

Gene Kelly – Singin’ in the Rain

My Overall Thoughts:

This was an ok year for nominations, but none of the performances come even clos eto being as powerful and timely as Cooper was in High Noon

My Rankings:

Acting Performances

5. Marlon Brando 
4. Alec Guinness
3. José Ferrer 
2. Kirk Douglas
1. Gary Cooper


5. Moulin RougeDoes a nice job depicted how physical ailments can affect the way people think of themselves when they don’t get encouragement from those around them. Ferrer does a pretty impressive job playing a character so short (especially due to his tall statue). The story moves along quite slowly and doesn’t pick up much momentum along the way.
4. The Lavender Hill MobSomewhat outdated mediocre heist movie with two great leads. Some great scenes parodying governmental procedures, but most of the film falls flat.
3.  Viva Zapata!Nice idea about the cyclical nature of power and corruption that would work better if someone else had the lead role. Brando is a great actor, but even he can’t make us believe that he is a Mexican. Quinn, on the other hand is great as his brother and right hand man and deservingly won an Oscar for his role. The message of the film still (unfortunately) rings true even after so many years.
2. The Bad and the BeautifulGreat premise that works quite well. It may not show Hollywood in such a good light but it comes across as feeling quite realistic as to how things really work. The cast is great with Douglas, Turner, Pidgeon, Powell and Grahame giving great performances. The rumor that most of the roles are based on real people in the industry caused quite a stir but doesn’t take away from the story at all, in fact, it has the opposite effect.
1. High Noon Great intense movie! Story told in almost real time. Great acting by Cooper. Still relevant even after so many years. Loved the way that this film alludes to the HUAC hearings at the time.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely!  Cooper was superb in High Noon and it’s disappointing that the film didn’t do better that year at the Oscars because it is the best film of the year

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

4 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1952

  1. OK… First of all – your assessment of the brilliant Lavender Hill Mob is (IMO) way off the mark – and Guiness is brilliant in it. I would say the same about Ferrer in Moulin Rouge. An exceptional portrait of a tormented genius. Douglas very good too – haven’t seen the film in a while – so I’d have to go back and rewatch to see how close they got it (having worked in the business for 22 years). I thought Brando was solid. As for Cooper – I have for the life of me, never understood the acclaim he got. I get the “movie star” part of the equation – and he was rock solid in High Noon as the stoic and outnumbered sheriff – which was indeed a statement on the Hollywood witch hunt going on at the time with the HUAC hearings – but I always thought he was a bit of a mannered stiff as an “actor”. Not so much here – but IMO – the Oscar should’ve gone to either Ferrer or Guinness (both of who won for other films).

    Liked by 1 person

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