Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1944

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Charles Boyer (Gaslight)
Bing Crosby (Going My Way)
Barry Fitzgerald (Going My Way)
Cary Grant (None but the Lonely Heart)
Alexander Knox (Wilson)

Biggest Snub:

Fred MacMurray – Double Indemnity

My Overall Thoughts:

This was an interesting year for nominees because it was a first (and only) time that an actor was nominated in multiple categories for the same role.  Since this was a year that the world was heavily involved in WWII, the voters chose to go in the direction of fun fluff instead of more interesting and dramatic stories across the board.

My Rankings:

Acting Performances

5. Cary Grant
4. Charles Boyer
3. Barry Fitzgerald
2. Bing Crosby
1. Alexander Knox


4. None but the Lonely HeartPretty gloomy and boring story of a young man (played by 40 yr old Grant) who resorts to crime in order to help his mother who is dying of cancer. The story itself doesn’t seem realistic at all and Grant feels really miscast in this kind of role. I’m still a bit confused how Grant got nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for this role and how Barrymore ended up winning Best Supporting Actress.
3. Going My WayFun and enjoyable film, but not necessarily Best Picture material. The sequel that came out the following year is much better and more poignant a story. Crosby is quite good in the lead, but Fitzgerald steals every scene he is in and deservingly won Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars despite also being nominated for Best Actor (the sole time this happened in history). Music is done well, but still not the best film of the year.
2. WilsonWell done epic, especially taking into account that it was made in 1944. Gives a clear picture of the life of Wilson. Knox is superb in this role and it was his career best performance that is quite memorable.
1. GaslightGreat premise that works so well despite feeling so ahead of it’s time. The cast is superb with Bergman having great chemistry with both Boyer and Cotten. Bergman rightfully deserved her first (of 3) Oscars for this role. Landsbury was surprisingly good in her first film role which ended up garnering her a Best Supporting Actress Nomination. Loved the way that the suspense gets higher and higher as the film moves along.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No!  Crosby does a nice job here and the attitude of wartime made them lean towards lighter themes so its understandable that he, and his film walked away with lots of awards. That being said, Knox was superb as Wilson and might have actually been able to win if the world situation was different.

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

3 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1944

  1. Agree. This was a strange year where all the performances were solid in their own way – but none (for me) led the pack in any appreciable way – and anyone could’ve won (ignoring the crazy situation with Barry Fitzgerald). But I absolutely agree with your choice of MacMurray. He was excellent – as was Edward G. Robinson – who was also ignored by the Academy for Double Indemnity – and if memory serves – was NEVER nominated a single time for any performance in his long and storied career – which is a bona fide travesty. Had MacMurray been nominated – I think he would’ve won. He was playing against type (as he did again for Billy Wilder in The Apartment, as the philandering boss having an affair with elevator operator Shirley MacLaine) in a role that Wilder had to strongarm into playing. Seems like every time Billy muscled Fred into a part – it was one of the best of his career. Maybe it was because the US was 3 years into WW II – but this award season seemed off somehow.

    Liked by 1 person

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