The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1941
I don’t have to say anything about 1941. We know Citizen Kane should have won. Let’s not dwell on that. (Though for a very quick history, it’s thought that the reason the film didn’t win is because William Randolph Hearst made huge threats against Hollywood simply because the film was even coming out. So it’s thought that people deliberately didn’t vote for it because they feared him. So if that’s the case, we can’t be angry at this decision. We can only understand it, and be disappointed.)
Since Kane wasn’t being voted for, How Green Was My Valley won Best Picture, Best Director for John Ford (talked about here), and Best Supporting Actor for Donald Crisp (talked about here). None should have happened, though the Crisp win is the closest to being okay (and it probably is. I just love Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon). Best Actor was Gary Cooper for Sergeant York (talked about here), which, as an alternative to Orson Welles, it’s fine. Best Actress was Joan Fontaine for Suspicion (talked about here), which was a makeup Oscar for the year before this, which is okay (even though Greer Garson gave the best performance. Though she got her Oscar the year after this, so everything worked out). And Best Supporting Actress was Mary Astor for The Great Lie (talked about here), which seems insignificant, but if you realize she was also in The Maltese Falcon this year, it becomes a good decision (though for a forgettable film).
So, in all, when you ignore the controversy, this is a very serviceable year. But the controversy is going to outshine everything, so it’s pretty much always going to be considered a bad year.
BEST PICTURE – 1941
And the nominees were…
Blossoms in the Dust (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
Citizen Kane (RKO Radio)
Here Comes Mr. Jordan (Columbia)
Hold Back the Dawn (Paramount)
How Green Was My Valley (20th Century Fox)
The Little Foxes (RKO Radio)
The Maltese Falcon (Warner Bros.)
One Foot in Heaven (Warner Bros.)
Sergeant York (Warner Bros.)
Suspicion (RKO Radio) (more…)