I consider 1948 to be the single worst Best Picture decision in the history of the Academy Awards. With good reason, too. Take a look at those nominees. The fact that they went the way they did, while wholly unsurprising, is still just terrible. Maybe I make a bigger deal out of it than it is, but I feel strongly about it.
Outside of Best Picture, Hamlet also won Laurence Olivier a well-deserved Best Actor (talked about here), which was a good decision aided by a horribly weak category (the snub for Bogart in Treasure of the Sierra Madre is horrendous). Best Actress was Jane Wyman for Johnny Belinda (talked about here), which I consider to be a top five decision for all time. I love her performance so much. Best Supporting Actor was Walter Huston for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (talked about here), which he’d had coming for a good twelve years by this point. John Huston also won Best Director for the film (talked about here), which he greatly deserved. And Best Supporting Actress was Claire Trevor for Key Largo (talked about here), which, as much as I love the film, I don’t like as a decision. Though seeing the film there is nice.
So, in all, 1948 is a really strong year. And when you look at these Best Picture nominees, you’d think you couldn’t lose. And then they went with Hamlet. Hamlet? Seriously? From this field?
BEST PICTURE – 1948
And the nominees were…
Hamlet (J. Arthur Rank-Two Cities Films, Universal International)
Johnny Belinda (Warner Bros.)
The Red Shoes (Rank Organisation, Powell & Pressburger, Eagle-Lion Films)
The Snake Pit (20th Century Fox)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Warner Bros.) (more…)