Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1941

Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)

John Ford (How Green Was My Valley)
Alexander Hall (Here Comes Mr. Jordan)
Howard Hawks (Sergeant York)
Orson Welles (Citizen Kane)
William Wyler (The Little Foxes)

Biggest Snub:

John Huston – The Maltese Falcon

My Overall Thoughts:

This is another great year with 4 very worthy nominees for these films and only one that feels as if he doesn’t really belong for the work that he did.

My Rankings:


5. William Wyler
4. Alexander Hall
3. Howard Hawks
2. John Ford
1. Orson Welles


5. The Little Foxes – Not a very interesting film. The characters leave much to be desired and there are too many scenes that creep along. The finale finally gives us something interesting to watch, but it is too little, too late for that. Davis is fine here in the title role. Nominated for 9 Oscars that year, but didn’t manage to win any of them.
4. Sergeant York – Interesting biopic, movie feels missing something and is quite slow moving, but still worth seeing.
3. How Green Was My Valley It moves a bit slowly, but flows, so make sure you aren’t in a rush and you can enjoy this very well made movie.
2. Here Comes Mr. Jordan – Great film that was done way before its time. The ideas of taking over someone else’s body and knowing “heavenly” secrets works extremely well here. Not at all a film that I would have expected to have been made in the 40’s, yet feels like it was done perfectly. Great characters that come to life for us. Superb cast.
1. Citizen Kane – Such a great film that is told so well. Welles really had the flair for making great movies, but his overenthusiastic approach in life didn’t help him recover from the bruises of making this film. Perhaps it’s the best movie by technical standards, but not understanding the technical aspects enough, I am not one to judge this. Very enjoyable narrative and story makes this a definite candidate to be among the best movies ever.

Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No!  Welles’ work on CK is amazing and should have won both BP and BD this year but Ford still does a wonderful job with HGWMV and was a close second that still makes him a deserving winner.

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

6 thoughts on “Did They Get it Right? – Best Director – Oscars 1941

  1. Kinda agree with you here(except on Here Comes Mr. Jordan, which I love and which was EXACTLY the kind of movie Hollywood was making in the 40s). Kane is a classic and HGWMV is one of my personal all time favorites – so a tough call. Disagree with your assessment that it”moves slowly” – it is after all – basically the story of a family and based on Richard Llewellyn’s novel -and I love every minute of it. I can quote lines of dialogue and I had the great pleasure of bumping into Roddy McDowall once and being able to tell him how much I loved that movie (he was quite gracious and kind and thanked me). Welles was very young and a newbie (and some considered a bull in the Hollywood China shop) – and Ford was a veteran already – and that may have factored in to his winning Best Director. We’ll never know how close the vote was, or whether it would have been different had the 2 films been released 10 years later.

    Liked by 1 person

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