We can all agree that 1941 is one of the biggest travesties in Academy history. How Green Was My Valley, a good film but not a great film, wins Best Picture over Citizen Kane. It’s bad, yes, we know. No need to repeat the obvious.
Donald Crisp also won Best Supporting Actor for the film (talked about here), beating my personal choice, Sydney Greenstreet for The Maltese Falcon. Best Actor this year was Gary Cooper for Sergeant York (talked about here), which, as much as I love the film and as iconic as the character is, I don’t like as a decision. I think Orson Welles should have won for Citizen Kane. But I’m not that upset about it, since Welles really should have won for Screenplay and Director. I could have lived with Cooper winning if Welles had won those other ones. But it’s fine. Then Best Actress was Joan Fontaine for Suspicion, which is a total makeup Oscar for the year before this, where she probably should have won for Rebecca. My personal choice in this category would have been Greer Garson for Blossoms in the Dust, but Fontaine was a good choice considering she didn’t win the year before this. And Best Supporting Actress was Mary Astor for The Great Lie, which on the surface, doesn’t sound like an Oscar-worthy performance. She was fine in the film, but, the real clincher is the fact that she was also in The Maltese Falcon this year. Plus she’s an actress who definitely deserves an Oscar. So that was a great decision.
So, really, 1941 is a great year, outside of Best Picture and Best Director. The rest of the decisions are at worst acceptable and understandable. So, really, we blame William Randolph Hearst for this one, since he single-handedly torpedoed Kane‘s chances. Someone should make a film about Rupert Murdoch, see what happens. (I bet he doesn’t have a pet name for his mistress’s vagina.)
BEST DIRECTOR – 1941
And the nominees were…
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 (more…)