Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1941

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Gary Cooper (Sergeant York)
Cary Grant (Penny Serenade)
Walter Huston (The Devil and Daniel Webster)
Robert Montgomery (Here Comes Mr. Jordan)
Orson Welles (Citizen Kane)

Biggest Snub:

Humphrey Bogart – The Maltese Falcon

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a rare year with 5 amazing performances and any of them would truly have been worthy of taking home gold.

My Rankings:

Acting Performances

5. Cary Grant 
4. Walter Huston
3. Robert Montgomery 
2. Gary Cooper
1. Orson Welles


5. Sergeant YorkInteresting biopic, movie feels missing something and is quite slow moving, but still worth seeing. Cooper is great in the lead.
4. Penny SerenadeGrant and Dunne have great chemistry together as a couple who learn to weather the ups and downs of life as they realize how much they need one another to do everything correctly. The message of the story works really well and even though this was made 77 years ago, the idea remains timeless and would work even if remade today.  Grant deservingly was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for this role.
3. The Devil and Daniel WebsterExcellent idea that works really well. The story is very timeless and allows us to get an idea of how such a story would work in a more modern world. Great cast helps make this story so interesting.  Both Arnold and Huston do wonderful jobs in important supporting roles yet somehow Huston got nominated in the lead for this role.
2. Here Comes Mr. JordanGreat film that was done way before its time. The ideas of taking over someone else’s body and knowing “heavenly” secrets works extremely well here. Not at all a film that I would have expected to have been made in the 40’s, yet feels like it was done perfectly. Great characters that come to life for us. Superb cast.
1. Citizen KaneSuch a great film that is told so well. Welles really had the flair for making great movies, but his overenthusiastic approach in life didn’t help him recover from the bruises of making this film. Perhaps it’s the best movie by technical standards, but not understanding the technical aspects enough, I am not one to judge this. Very enjoyable narrative and story makes this a definite candidate to be among the best movies ever.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Not Really!  This was the year that Welles should have taken home gold for his best performance in his storied career. The film is amazing to watch and it is somewhat of a shame that it never got the awards it clearly deserved due largely to Hollywood politics. Cooper is an ok substitute but any of the 5 would have been worthy because all of them are great this year.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Actor – Oscars 1941

  1. Agree here. Maybe KANE was so far ahead of its time and the pack, that Hollywood couldn’t recognize it for what it was at the time. Welles got screwed on a number of levels with this one. But he was young, brash and there was (at the time and to this day) – questions about who wrote what. I LOVE Penny Serenade and Grant & Dunne in it, the touching beautiful story. Loved Edgar Buchanan as well. He rated an Oscar nom if only for the diaper changing scene with the peanuts (although no one would’ve beaten Donald Crisp). Here Comes Mr. Jordan is another favorite. I like it much better than Warren Beatty’s multiple nominated remake. You know my feelings on Cooper. Never see Devil and Daniel Webster. Great call on Bogart (Peter Lorre also – for Supporting Actor). Grant could’ve been nominated for Suspicion as well, but he rarely got credit for how easy he made these roles seem.


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