Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1948

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Lew Ayres (Johnny Belinda)
Montgomery Clift (The Search)
Dan Dailey (When My Baby Smiles at Me)
Laurence Olivier (Hamlet)
Clifton Webb (Sitting Pretty)

Biggest Snub:

Humphrey Bogart – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

My Overall Thoughts:

This was another great year of nominees and 4 of the 5 give stellar performances here.

My Rankings:

Acting Performances

5. Dan Dailey 
4. Montgomery Clift
3. Clifton Webb
2. Lew Ayres
1. Laurence Olivier


5. When My Baby Smiles at MeThe story itself is quite mediocre and this might work much better as a drama than as a comedy.  Grable and Dailey are both fine here but its hard to feel any kind of connection to their characters and everything that they must go through here.  Dailey’s portrayal of a drinker and womanizer garnered him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for this role.
4. HamletFound this really boring even though I knew the story from back when I was in high school. I still like Branagh version much better. Olivier is amazing in the title role though and was deserving of his win for Best Actor.
3. The SearchReally interesting idea that works quite well. This was probably even more powerful when it first came out due to the connections to the refugee situation in Europe after the war, especially of children. Clift does quite a good job in the lead, but the story is more focused on Jandl and he shines in an almost non-verbal performance.  I’m a little bit surprised that Clift got an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for this role. The story moves along at a great pace and it expertly shows what kind of life people had to endure during the post war era.
2. Sitting PrettyReally fun film that surprised me over and over. Loved how this film manages to depict situations and scenarios that one wouldn’t expect from a film made in the late 1940’s. The cast is superb but obviously Webb stands out among them all and was very deserving in being nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars for this role.  Spawned a few sequels and even a TV show that lasted a few seasons in the 1980’s.
1. Johnny BelindaWyman and Ayres are both superb here. Loved the way the story unfolds because they manage to give us so much information about the characters, their way of life and how things are run in such a small community. The fact that their are numerous issues discussed only in passing due to many of the censorship laws at the time would normally have caused problems with a film like this, but they do a great job of presenting things in a way that we can fully understand what is going on despite the obvious omissions. Wyman truly deserved her Best Actress Oscar for this role.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes!  Olivier’s film might be a disappointment because of its pacing, but there is no question that the performance itself was breathtaking to watch.

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

2 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1948

  1. The fact that Bogart got no nomination for Treasure of the Sierra Madre (or John Wayne for Red River for that matter), IMO, negates this entire category for this year. It’s a joke. Either one of them should’ve/would’ve won over the 5 nominated. I think it would’ve been Bogie in a landslide. What the Hell was the academy thinking? Answer: they were NOT thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

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