Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1955


Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Elia Kazan (East of Eden)
David Lean (Summertime)
Joshua Logan (Picnic)
Delbert Mann (Marty)
John Sturges (Bad Day at Black Rock)

Biggest Snub:

Jules Dassin – Rififi

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year where there are 4 very good nominees where any of them would have been deserving of taking home Gold.  I’m still trying to understand how Picnic did so well this year getting 6 Oscar nominations (winning 2) and also winning Best Director at the Globes.

My Rankings:

Directing

5. Picnic
4. Bad Day at Black Rock
3. Summertime
2. Marty
1. East of Eden

Movies

5. PicnicPretty bland story about rebelling and wanting more in life. Cast is ok here but Holden (who I love) was horribly miscast because he comes off as being too old for the part he plays. The dialogue is sharp, but you don’t end up feeling that there was a strong enough message in the story.
4. SummertimeInteresting film with a good premise that has been used and re-used so many times over the 60+ years since this film came out. Hepburn is great in this role and was quite deserving of her Oscar nomination for Best Actress for it. She makes us believe that this is a real person as she experiences things within and slightly outside of her own comfort zone. Liked the way that she meets up with other tourists who are stereotypical tourists which helps us see her character in such a better light. The cinematography is superbly done and we get some amazing shots of Venice at both night and day. Lean directs this film extremely well and was very deserving of his Oscar nomination for Best Director for this.
3. East of EdenVery interesting look at the relationships between family members as they are affected by all that happens around them. Cast is great with Dean, Massey, Van Fleet and Davalos all giving stellar performances. The story is quite deep and I believe that the novel by Steinbeck does an even better job at showing the intricacies of these relationships.
2. Bad Day at Black RockVery good thriller/mystery that really gives off the post war isolationist feeling. Excellent cast led by Tracy and Ryan. Does a great job slowly revealing the mystery but still feels a bit hollow at points.
1. MartyFeel good movie. Worthwhile just for the amazing performance of Borgnine that rings so true throughout. May seen like a very simple story, but it is such a timeless story that even remains relevant over 60 years later.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No!  Kazan does a slightly better job with EoE than Mann did with Marty, but since the stories are vastly different even when looking at the scope, it’s understandable how Mann could pull off this win.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1955

  1. Love Marty. Also – in terms of scope – it started as a live TV broadcast – starring Rod Steiger. Borgnine (who had co-starred in From Here To Eternity with Burt Lancaster – whose com[pany produced MARTY as a feature – replaced him and won the Oscar.

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