Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1951

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

John Huston (The African Queen)
Elia Kazan (A Streetcar Named Desire)
Vincente Minnelli (An American in Paris)
George Stevens (A Place in the Sun) 
William Wyler (Detective Story)

Biggest Snub:

Anatole Litvak – Decision Before Dawn

My Overall Thoughts:

This was yet another great year with 5 worthy nominees.  All 5 of these films are iconic and any of the nominees would have been a very worthy winner here.

My Rankings:


5. Vincente Minnelli
4. Elia Kazan
3. George Stevens
2. William Wyler
1. John Huston


5. An American in ParisVery mediocre movie since it has a very thin plot and just tries to get by with music from Gershwin and with Kelly dancing up a storm.
4. A Place in the SunReally liked the way that this films story plays out. Great performances by Clift, Taylor and Winters. Really does a great job discussing the moralities of thoughts vs. actions. Enjoyed the way that a film made during the era of censorship of movies was able to still give us a genuine feeling love story that defies many of the issues that weren’t discussed so openly at the time.
3. Detective StoryReally interesting film that obviously has been copied so many times over and expanded on in the 67 years since this came out. The characters are all quite interesting and keep things intriguing as we learn more and more about what is going on. The dialogue is superbly written and also helps make this story even more enjoyable as things move along. They explore some very interesting ideas here and manage to juggle all of the storylines quite well along the way.
2. A Streetcar Named DesireGreat performances, excellent script by Tennessee Williams’ award winning play.
1. The African QueenGreat film where both Hepburn and Bogart excel in their roles. Loved the subtlety of it all.  Great cinematography of the wilds of Africa that shows Huston’s expertise in creating a full scope story for us to enjoy both technically and visually. Bogart deservingly won a Best Actor Oscar for this film and this is one of his best roles IMHO.  The behind the scenes issues of this movie are tales that are wondrous to hear and an account of it is featured in Eastwood’s White Heart Black Hunter.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Sorta!  This is quite a difficult year to analyze because all 5 nominees do a fine job with what they present yet none of them are far superior than the other because any of them winning would have been quite deserving.

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

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