Here are the five nominees: (Winner in Bold)
Eduard Franz – The Magnificent Yankee
My Overall Thoughts:
This is yet another year with 5 very solid nominees but two stand out among the rest and either of them could have conceivably taken the win.
5. Jeff Chandler
4. Sam Jaffe
3. Edmund Gwenn
2. Erich von Stroheim
1. George Sanders
5. Mister 880 – Mediocre crime thriller that moves way too slow and feels unsatisfying by the end of its short 88 minute runtime. Doesn’t stand up well after nearly 70 years.
4. Broken Arrow – Interesting premise that works quite well to show both sides of the Indian issue. This is not completely based entirely on fact, but it is presented quite well. Stewart is great in the lead and Chandler is very good as the Indian chief Cochise who is willing to have peace if the terms are done properly. He was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this performance. I liked seeing how Geronimo and his followers split from the rest of the tribe which helps show that on both sides there are men who want peace and men who want war. Unfortunately that notion has never changed no matter the geography or the place in time.
3. The Asphalt Jungle – Very interesting crime thriller heist film that is quite gritty in the way that it tells its story. The cast is superb with Hayden, Calhern, Jaffe and Whitmore all giving great performances here. The way that the heist is presented works really well and we quite quickly learn that no one is ever to be trusted in situations like this one. The story feels quite realistic in its depiction of the events shown and we get to see how corruption can affect both sides of the law in situations like this one.
2. All About Eve – Expertly written by Mankiewicz! The actors all are superb and it’s a thrill watching them deliver his lines. Says so much about the movie industry and fame.
1. Sunset Blvd. – Such a cleverly written film that keeps us hooked from beginning to end. Holden and Swanson are both superb here and we are constantly surprised by everything they say and do. Love the way that this film deals with how members of Hollywood perceive their contemporaries depending on whether they are on the way up or down. Yet it also shows us how those people perceive themselves in a different position than they might really be. The plot moves along at a great pace and gives us so much to mull over as things move along. Still seems to (sadly) ring true even after 67 years.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Most Definitely! GS was superb in AAE and despite EvS coming in a close second, the fact that everyone loved AAE which nearly swept the Oscars that year helped GS take home Gold.
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!
Firstly, All About Eve did not “nearly sweep the Oscars”. It was nominated a record 14X, but only won 5. A near sweep would be “Ben-Hur” winning 11 of 12 nominations (which it did). Sanders was excellent -but the role was tailor made for his effete gossipy, know every piece of dirt critic. I thought Sam Jaffe (who had played Gunga Din) was even better as the brains behind the heist who had a thing for young girls. And Von Stroheim was letter perfect as the director (which he was) reduced to a butler/servant for the movie star he once directed and to whom he was married. This one would’ve been a more difficult choice for me than you made it out to be.
As for “snubs” – how about some of the other players you mentioned from Asphalt Jungle” – Whitmore and Calhern, or Broderick Crawford from “Born Yesterday”?