Archive for July 8, 2011

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1949

1949. Good year, but not a great one. I like it, but don’t love it. All the King’s Men. A good film, but not really a great one. In another year, it probably wouldn’t win Best Picture. But this isn’t another year. Broderick Crawford wins Best Actor for the film, which I think is a great decision (as I’ve talked about here), and Mercedes McCambridge wins Best Supporting Actress for it as well. She was really the only choice. After that, Best Actress was Olivia de Havilland for The Heiress, which, even though it was her second one, was richly deserved. She was by far the best in the category. And Best Supporting Actor was Dean Jagger for Twelve O’Clock High, a decision I haven’t fully formulated an opinion on yet.

That’s it, really. Good decisions, but nothing outstanding. This category, however — introduces a real catch-22 in the history of the Best Director category. I’ll tell you what it is right now. Joseph L. Mankiewicz wins this. I don’t think he should have. I didn’t think his effort was that great. However, he also wins Best Director the year after this, for All About Eve. Which, is a good effort. Problem is, that year, he beat two films generally considered to be two of the the best directorial efforts of all time, Billy Wilder for Sunset Bouelvard and Carol Reed for The Third Man. And therein lies the catch-22. If Mankiewicz doesn’t win here, he definitely wins there, where he really shouldn’t have won. But he wins here, and he shouldn’t have. So what do you do? He should probably have a statue, but, I can’t (or won’t) vote for him in either of these years. So what do you do? See what I mean? How do you win? (You don’t. And that, ladies and gentleman, is the Academy Awards.)


And the nominees were…

Joseph L. Mankiewicz, A Letter to Three Wives

Carol Reed, The Fallen Idol

Robert Rossen, All the King’s Men

William A. Wellman, Battleground

William Wyler, The Heiress (more…)

Pic of the Day: “Bring us a pitcher of beer every seven minutes until somebody passes out. And then bring one every ten minutes.”