Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1944


Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Alfred Hitchcock (Lifeboat)
Henry King (Wilson)
Leo McCarey (Going My Way)
Otto Preminger (Laura)
Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity)

Biggest Snub:

George Cukor – Gaslight

My Overall Thoughts:

This is a year with 4 very strong nominees and a slightly weaker one who managed to squeak by largely due to the atmosphere in the US at the time the Awards ceremony came around.

My Rankings:

Directing

5. Leo McCarey
4. Henry King
3. Otto Preminger
2. Billy Wilder
1. Alfred Hitchcock

Movies

5. Going My WayFun and enjoyable film, but not necessarily Best Picture material. The sequel that came out the following year is much better and more poignant a story. Crosby is quite good in the lead, but Fitzgerald steals every scene he is in and deservingly won Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars despite also being nominated for Best Actor (the sole time this happened in history). Music is done well, but still not the best film of the year.
4.  LauraVery interesting whodunit that is filled with great twists and turns along the way. Preminger manages to keep things interesting and intriguing the entire time as he constantly raises the stakes of the storyline. He was deservingly nominated for an Oscar for Best Director for this film. Excellent cast led by Andrews with Webb, Price, Anderson and Tierney all helping keep things thrilling the whole way through.
3. WilsonWell done epic, especially taking into account that it was made in 1944. Gives a clear picture of the life of Wilson.
2. Double IndemnityGreat thriller that has nice twists and turns throughout. Great plot by Chandler and dialogue by Wilder.
1. LifeboatBy far my favorite of all of Hitchcock’s films. The suspense is multiplied because the characters are all in a close quartered environment. The cast is spectacular and each of them has a different voice that allows us to see varying viewpoints of the conflict at hand. The physical and emotional tolls on each of the characters allows us to get a very interesting perspective into the psychological effects on people during a crisis. The script is perfect because it relies so much on its superb dialogue written by none other than famed author John Steinbeck.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Not really!  I’m still a bit confused as to how LM was able to win both BP and BD this year. I know that the US was in the midst of WWII, so perhaps they needed something light to keep them entertained eventhough despite the film being good, it is clearly the weakest of the 5 nominees.

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

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