Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)
Fritz Lang – Scarlet Street
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year where all 5 directors nominated are quite talented but the work here all come across as seeming a bit average, but one film was so much ahead of it’s time and dealt with subject matter that was generally shied away from in Hollywood.
5. Clarence Brown
4. Leo McCarey
3. Jean Renoir
2. Alfred Hitchcock
1. Billy Wilder
5. The Southerner – Interesting, yet simplistic look at the life of a struggling farmer and his family. We get to see the hardships of the family over the years but their perseverance over that time shows how dedicated they are to having their own farmland in order to support themselves properly. The story arc works quite well and it all seems quite realistic the entire time. Renoir received an Oscar nomination (his sole nomination) for this film and I can definitely understand why.
4. National Velvet – Very interesting story about the connection between a young girl and her horse. The analogies between the two of them are quite blatant here and it’s easy to see why they have such a strong connection. Rooney is great as a former horse trainer that the young girl tries to convince to train and perhaps even ride the horse in the race. Heartwarming story about doing your best in order to get the best results. Taylor is quite good here and I was surprised to see that even as a child actress she was able to make us care about her character.
3. Spellbound – Bergman and Peck are both great here, but the best character is by far Dr. Brulov played by Michael Chekhov who is written so well. Love the idea that someone with amnesia trying to decipher what he did and who he is while be chased by the authorities. Hitchcock keeps the suspense going throughout and you don’t really know what’s gonna happen as it moves along.
2. The Lost Weekend – Truly a movie ahead of it’s time since the subject matter wasn’t truly a topic people discussed in public at the time. Definitely deserving of it’s Oscar wins for BP and BD.
1. The Bells of St. Mary’s – Very enjoyable film that takes a simple story and keeps it interesting the entire time. The characters are all great and they keep surprising us the entire time. Crosby is notable as the first actor to receive multiple Oscar nominations for the same character and this film also has the honor of being the very first sequel to ever get a nomination for Best Picture. This is probably the most enjoyable of the 5 nominees that year.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely! In a relatively average year, TLW is truly ahead of its time and above all of the other 4 nominees.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!