You can’t help but love 1943. Casablanca is one of the greatest films ever made. Of course it should have won Best Picture, and Best Director for Michael Curtiz (talked about here), who desperately deserved one of these. It also should have won Best Actor, Best Actress and this award, but it didn’t. And all three are, to varying degrees, bad decisions. Only one of the three was atoned for. The other two — the worse decisions — were not.
Paul Lukas wins Best Actor for Watch on the Rhine, which is one of the worst five Best Actor winning performances of all time. It’s truly not good, and it’s shocking that Humphrey Bogart didn’t win. Then Best Actress was Jennifer Jones for The Song of Bernadette. This, I understand. Because — Ingrid Bergman, who should have won, wasn’t nominated for Casablanca. She was nominated for For Whom the Bell Tolls, which is a performance she shouldn’t have won for. So the Jennifer Jones vote makes perfect sense. Though it screwed up the year before this, when Ingrid Bergman did win and screwed Barbara Stanwyck out of an Oscar. Then Best Supporting Actress was Katina Paxinou for For Whom the Bell Tolls, which, I don’t really have an issue with, mostly because the category sucked. It’s a blank in history.
So, 1943 — they got the big decisions right, the medium decisions wrong (though both were atoned for later, in the sense that both Bogart and Bergman won Oscars), and the small decisions either wrong or indifferent. And this one — this hurts. There were two performances that should have won, but — after all is said and done, I consider this a bad decision. But it’s still a great performance. And that hurts more.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1943
And the nominees were…
Charles Bickford, The Song of Bernadette
Charles Coburn, The More the Merrier
J. Carrol Naish, Sahara
Claude Rains, Casablanca
Akim Tamiroff, For Whom the Bell Tolls (more…)