1942, to me, is a lot of bridesmaids without a bride. I understand why Mrs. Miniver won Best Picture — it’s a solid film, a wartime story, and it’s about family, and that’s what they needed during WW II — but to me, there could have been a better choice. And yet, of the rest of the choices, the only films I could see possibly voting for over it were, 49th Parallel, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Pride of the Yankees, and Yankee Doodle Dandy. But of those, 49th Parallel isn’t a good choice, Ambersons was so creatively compromised, Dandy shouldn’t have won, and Pride of the Yankees, while my favorite film nominated, feels like a lesser choice, historically, than Mrs. Miniver.
Teresa Wright also won Best Supporting Actress for Mrs. Miniver, which is a great decision, since she probably should have won Best Actress this year (in this man’s opinion), but Greer Garson (who also won for Miniver) really needed to win because she was passed over the year before this so they could give Joan Fontaine her makeup Oscar. So what ended up happening was, Fontaine wins, bumps Garson to here, and Garson bumps Wright to Supporting, so everything worked out. Then Best Actor this year was James Cagney for Yankee Doodle Dandy, a decision I’m sure everyone loves (to me, Gary Cooper was better in Pride of the Yankees, but he won the year before this, so it all worked out). And Best Supporting Actor was Van Heflin in Johnny Eager, which, I don’t like, but, in a category that weak, it’s not like it matters at all.
And this category — pretty simple. Comes with the territory. Sure, based on the fact that he won three times, you could say, “Give it to someone else here,” but, honestly, I don’t see anyone else with an effort that deserves to beat it.
BEST DIRECTOR – 1942
And the nominees were…
Michael Curtiz, Yankee Doodle Dandy
John Farrow, Wake Island
Meryn LeRoy, Random Harvest
Sam Wood, Kings Row
William Wyler, Mrs. Miniver (more…)