Love me some 1946. I’m always a fan of years that have definitive winners, yet other nominees that are strong enough to make people vehemently argue that those films should have won instead, and yet not be wrong to argue for them. 1939 is one. 1957. 1997, 1994, 1991 — there are lots of them. Here, The Best Years of Our Lives wins Best Picture, as it should have (historically this is a big film for Hollywood), and It’s a Wonderful Life is the film everyone argues for. And no one is wrong. I love that.
The Best Years of Our Lives also won Best Director for William Wyler, which was gonna happen, and Best Supporting Actor for Harold Russell, which, as I said here, I actually really, really hate. Best Actress was Olivia de Havilland for To Each His Own, which, as I said here, I love and support fully. And Best Supporting Actress was Anne Baxter for The Razor’s Edge, which I liked very much, actually.
So, in all, 1946 is a strong, strong year, with only one slip up that’s actually understandable (though still bad). And this category — looking at it objectively — as much as we all love Jimmy Stewart — this was a good decision.
BEST ACTOR – 1946
And the nominees were…
Frederic March, The Best Years of Our Lives
Laurence Olivier, Henry V
Larry Parks, The Jolson Story
Gregory Peck, The Yearling
James Stewart, It’s A Wonderful Life (more…)