Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1942


Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

Michael Curtiz (Yankee Doodle Dandy)
John Farrow (Wake Island)
Mervyn LeRoy (Random Harvest)
Sam Wood (Kings Row)
William Wyler (Mrs. Miniver)

Biggest Snub:

Irving Pichel – The Pied Piper

My Overall Thoughts:

This was a year with 3 of the nominees being amazing , another quite good and the final one just ok.  The winner could have been any of the top 3 with a possibility of the #4 sweeping in (which it did)

My Rankings:

Directing

5. John Farrow
4. Mervyn LeRoy
3. Sam Wood
2. William Wyler
1. Michael Curtiz

Movies

5. Wake IslandReally enjoyed the way this was done because it showed so much patriotism. The characters are all typical soldier caricatures but they still manage to effectively get our sympathy. The brutality of the Japanese enemy is shown here quite blatantly and I can understand how this film could get nominated for Best Picture namely due to its depiction of the horrors of war.
4. Mrs. MiniverSlightly slow moving depiction of WWII from the homefront which was surprisingly filmed in the middle of the war.
3. Random HarvestSuch a great premise that works so well.  It’s so easy to care for the characters here and the fact that we know what is happening while they are in the dark makes us want to shout at them in order for them to see the truth.  Very interesting that a story like this was produced while the war raged on in Europe because of how close to home many of the scenes would hit family members of those fighting abroad.  I understand why Mrs. Miniver (1942) was selected over this one as Best Picture in such turbulent times, but I still think this is a much better story of the two films.
2. Kings RowSuch an amazing film because of the way that it is able to tell such a complex and dark story yet due to the censors have to do it in more subtle ways. The characters are all great and we get to see how their lives progress over the years. Each of them finds a way to live their lives despite their own personal problems that try to stop them along the way. Great cast led by Sheridan, Cummings, Reagan and Fields. One of the best films of that year which is surprising that it only managed to garner three nominations (Picture, Director and cinematography).
1. Yankee Doodle DandyAmazing film that I can’t believe I never saw or even heard much about it beforehand besides it being a musical. It does a wonderful job touching upon so many important and life changing events of the life of this pioneer. The musical numbers are wonderful and not having been exposed to Cagney’s dancing and singing abilities beforehand, I was quite impressed with the final product. Two hours is not really long enough to fully encompass all of the events of his life properly, but they still leave us with enough about this wonderful life. Can’t wait to see it again!

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Not at all!  I sorta understand how Mrs. Miniver won BP and BD but I still think that three of the other films would have been a more worthy winner in either or both categories.

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

Let me Know what you think!!

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