Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1948


Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

John Huston (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre)
Anatole Litvak (The Snake Pit)
Jean Negulesco (Johnny Belinda)
Laurence Olivier (Hamlet)
Fred Zinnemann (The Search)

Biggest Snub:

Vittorio De Sica – Bicycle Thieves

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year where one of the nominees clearly was far ahead of the others and it would have been a rea;l upset if he hasn’t won. The fact that his film wasn’t able to win BP that year is another mistake that the Academy makes us all wonder “what were they think?”

My Rankings:

Directing

5. Anatole Litvak
4. Jean Negulesco
3. Laurence Olivier
2. Fred Zinnemann
1. John Huston

Movies

5. HamletFound this really boring even though I knew the story from back when I was in high school. I still like Branagh version much better.
4. The Snake PitVery interesting look at how mental patients were treated during the 1940’s. The story keep us as disjointed as the main character since we learn about her past as she remembers it slowly but surely. De Havilland is amazing here because we get to see her viewpoint on much of the story and it looks at them from a simple and pure perspective. Supposedly, this film helped change many laws as to how mental patients are treated.
3. The SearchReally interesting idea that works quite well. This was probably even more powerful when it first came out due to the connections to the refugee situation in Europe after the war, especially of children. Clift does quite a good job in the lead, but the story is more focused on Jandl and he shines in an almost non-verbal performance. I’m a little bit surprised that Clift got an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for this role. The story moves along at a great pace and it expertly shows what kind of life people had to endure during the post war era.
2. Johnny BelindaWyman and Ayres are both superb here. Loved the way the story unfolds because they manage to give us so much information about the characters, their way of life and how things are run in such a small community. The fact that their are numerous issues discussed only in passing due to many of the censorship laws at the time would normally have caused problems with a film like this, but they do a great job of presenting things in a way that we can fully understand what is going on despite the obvious omissions. Wyman truly deserved her Best Actress Oscar for this role.
1. The Treasure of the Sierra MadreSuch an amazing film because it works on so many different levels. The characters are all perfect because we get different archetypes of men seeking fortune and each of the 4 Americans we meet act so differently while trying to achieve their own personal goal of riches. The acting is superb with Huston obviously standing out as the best of them. He deservingly won a Best Supporting Oscar for this role and remains the sole winner to have won in a film directed by his own son. The themes depicted here are so profound and it says so much about how different people react in certain situations.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Definitely!  Huston does a superb job here and was clearly the best Director of the 5 nominees.

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

Let me Know what you think!!

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