Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)
Charles Vanel – The Wages of Fear
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with 5 great nominees but one of them was clearly much better than the rest.
5. Eddie Albert
4. Brandon De Wilde
3. Jack Palance
2. Robert Strauss
1. Frank Sinatra
4. Roman Holiday – Hepburn is amazing in this film and it help cement her career. The story is light and works in most cases and stays enjoyable throughout. The chemistry between Hepburn and Peck is a bit iffy but is still passable. Shows a nice perspective on how a “stuffy” royal life might sometimes be too much for a young heir and therefore must need a chance for a “break”.
3. From Here to Eternity – Interesting drama that shows the complexity of life in the Army prior to the outbreak of WWII. It moves quite slowly at the beginning, but has some great scenes.
2. Shane – Great film about choices in life and standing up for what is right. Loved the way that both Shane and Starrett want the same thing but each does things differently based on their own personal experiences in life. The Starrett family feels quiet real and genuine and it’s possible to believe that such a relationship can easily be formed between such like-minded and simple people. Rightfully was nominated for 6 Oscars that year, but only managed a win for Best Cinematography. The music is nice and subtle and helps keep the tension high the whole way through. Ladd is amazing as the soft spoken lead and fits the character so perfectly.
1. Stalag 17 – Amazing film that manages to try and show some of the issues faced by POW’s under the careful watch of their captors while also presenting a clever whodunit. The way that the story plays out works really well and we get a clear idea of the conditions they were faced with the entire time. The cast is superb but Holden clearly stands out as the best in the lead role which garnered him a Best Actor Oscar for playing such a character. The mix of humor and drama actually works to this films advantage because of the dark nature of the environment presented since it allows us to feel more comfortable watching such a situation. Wilder deservingly got an Oscar nomination for Best Director for this film. This film remains one of the best prisoner of war films every made.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Definitely! Sinatra is great in FHTE and was quite deserving of winning since he was clearly the best of the 5 nominees.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!
Agree that it WAS a terrific year in this category. Not sure on YOUR ranking order though. Sinatra was excellent as Maggio (a role he fought for while his film career was in the doldrums – supposedly with “help” – which was sort of memorialized in the “Johnny Fontaine” character in “The Godfather”). I thought Ernest Borgnine should’ve garnered a nomination as well for his brutal guard. Don’t know how anyone could’ve played that character better. Palance and De Wilde were both terrific in Shane (but no nomination for Alan Ladd in the lead) and would’ve had both of them and Eddie Albert’s photographer sidekick ranked ahead of Robert Strauss’s comic relief Stalag 17 inmate.