Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1949

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Joseph L. Mankiewicz (A Letter to Three Wives)
Carol Reed (The Fallen Idol)
Robert Rossen (All The King’s Men)
William A. Wellman (Battleground)
William Wyler (The Heiress)

Biggest Snub:

Edward Dmytryk – The Hidden Room aka Obsession

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a year where the nominees are all quite good but two of them definitely stand out by the work that they presented us with.

My Rankings:


5. William Wyler
4. Robert Rossen
3. Carol Reed
2. Joseph L. Mankiewicz
1. William A. Wellman


5. The HeiressDrags too much, but the performances are pretty good. De Havilland won a Best Actress Oscar for her role.
4. A Letter to Three WivesExcellent writing by Mankiewicz. Both funny and dramatic script done well.  His direction of the multiple storylines works very well and shows his skill as a director.
3. All The King’s MenNot as good as I had hoped for a Best Picture winner, but was pretty good largely due to the excellent performance by Crawford.
2. The Fallen IdolGreat premise because it tries to show us the perspective of a child on events beyond his scope of understanding. The chemistry between Richardson and Henrey is great and helps the story stay so suspenseful because you never see to know where things will go. Like the fact that the film shows the viewer the events as they happen yet we still can see the way an impressionable child can perceive things. Reed was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for Best Director for his work here.
1. BattlegroundExcellent portrayal of the Battle of the Bulge which is even more impressive since it was filmed just a few years after the events happened. The cast is quite good with Johnson giving a great performance. Great to see Montalbon is an earlier role, yet his accent truly gives away who he is.  This isn’t a very graphic war movie due to the time it was filmed yet it still managed to do an amazing job letting us feel both the physical and emotional hardships of these soldiers. Having seen Band of Brothers (2001) and that film’s depiction of similar events, it gives me an even greater appreciation for what they managed to do here.  One of the best (if not THE best) of the five films nominated for Best Picture that year.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No!  JLM does a very nice job with a complex kind of story and was able to write and direct a very interesting film but the work by WW on this war film was quite innovative for its time and stands out among all of the nominees.

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

One thought on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1949

  1. Mankiewicz was first (and only?) one to win Oscars for writing AND Ditrecting 2 years in a row. Impressive. That being said – I sort of agree with you on Wellman for Battleground (one of my favorite WW II movies).


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