Things changed this year. Now America is in the war. So you have to shift your thinking to taking that into account. The war was a huge deal. Patriotism (and to an extent propaganda) was a big thing. And that’s ultimately what helps this year make sense.
Mrs. Miniver is a good film, but more importantly — it’s a good war film. It promotes the values of the family sticking together during war time and doing their part to help out their country, despite hardships that come of it. A film like this makes sense for 1942. It also won Best Director for William Wyler (talked about here), Best Actress for Greer Garson (talked about here), and Best Supporting Actress for Teresa Wright (talked about here). All were fine decisions, ranging from simply okay to really great. Best Actor was James Cagney for Yankee Doodle Dandy (talked about here), which was an amazing decision. And Best Supporting Actor was Van Heflin for Johnny Eager (talked about here), which was a pretty insignificant decision in one of the weakest Best Supporting Actor categories of all time.
So, overall, while I’m sure we all prefer a different film for Best Picture, 1942 is a solid year. There’s really not much else to say. There’s a war on, Fink.
BEST PICTURE – 1942
And the nominees were…
49th Parallel (GFD, Columbia)
Kings Row (Warner Bros.)
The Magnificent Ambersons (Mercury, RKO Radio)
Mrs. Miniver (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
The Pied Piper (20th Century Fox)
The Pride of the Yankees (Goldwyn, RKO Radio)
Random Harvest (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
The Talk of the Town (Columbia)
Wake Island (Paramount)
Yankee Doodle Dandy (Warner Bros.) (more…)