Posts tagged “1943

Mike’s Top Ten of 1943

1943 is the weakest year of the early 40s, and a lot of that has to do with one thing and one thing only: World War II. A lot of the top directors in Hollywood (the ones with the highest percentage of great films) were off participating in the war. There’s a great book (and documentary) about it called Five Came Back. The big five are John Ford, John Huston, Frank Capra, George Stevens and William Wyler. Of the five, only one has a movie that came out this year, and that was because he was finishing his obligations before joining the war.

With those directors gone, it’s pretty slim pickings at the top. That’s not to say there aren’t really good films here, but there’s a marked difference between the overall quality of films in 1941 and 1942 vs. 1943. And it’s totally understandable. America is in the thick of the war effort and the industry doesn’t really have the time or the money to churn out the amount of films they had been.

The other thing I like about 1943 is the overall influx of Technicolor films. Still a primarily black-and-white top ten, but there’s definitely more color all around, and good use of color, too. (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1943

This is the last year of ten nominees. I never mentioned the number of the nominees yet. The way it had been until this point was: three the first year, no official nominees the second, then five from 1930-1932, then they went to ten from 1933 until this year (with the exception of 1934 and 1935, the two “write-in” years, which had 12 nominees). After this year, they went strictly to five, which lasted until 2009.

Outside of that, the great thing about this year is that it’s the year of Casablanca, which makes it quite easy to discuss. Two things to note about the film: first, while the film did premiere in November of 1942, it didn’t go into wide release until early 1943, which is why it counted amongst the films of 1943. (It’s basically the same as a film getting that late December limited release nowadays to qualify for Oscars, but not getting a wide release until January, only with different rules since it was 1943.) The other thing is that: while the film is a classic and one of the best films ever made, it also is a war film. The story is about Bogart, a neutral man, choosing a side in a war. So it does actually fit with the times. Oh, and, aside from Best Picture, Michael Curtiz won Best Director for the film (talked about here). Nice to see him finally get his due.

Other winners this year included Paul Lukas as Best Actor for Watch on the Rhine (talked about here), which is one of the worst Best Actor decisions of all time (it’s so bad), Jennifer Jones as Best Actress for The Song of Bernadette (talked about here), which was deserved (since Ingrid Bergman was nominated for the wrong film), Charles Coburn as Best Supporting Actor for The More the Merrier (talked about here), which, despite my love for Claude Rains as Louis Renault, is a good decision, and Katina Paxinou as Best Supporting Actress for For Whom the Bell Tolls (talked about here), which — meh. So, overall, many of the individual categories are either forgettable or not particularly memorable, yet the year remains strong simply because of the Best Picture choice. Which again shows how a good or bad Best Picture choice can make or break a year.

BEST PICTURE – 1943

And the nominees were…

Casablanca (Warner Bros.)

For Whom the Bell Tolls (Paramount)

Heaven Can Wait (20th Century Fox)

The Human Comedy (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

In Which We Serve (United Artists)

Madame Curie (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

The More the Merrier (Columbia)

The Ox-Bow Incident (20th Century Fox)

The Song of Bernadette (20th Century Fox)

Watch on the Rhine (Warner Bros.) (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1943

I love 1943. The synopsis goes by so quickly.

Casablanca wins Best Picture and Best Director for Michael Curtiz (talked about here). I rest my case.

Paul Lukas wins Best Actor for Watch on the Rhine (talked about here). Second worst Best Actor-winning performance (and probable worst Best Actor decision) of all time. Really terrible. Jennifer Jones wins Best Actress for The Song of Bernadette (talked about here). Makes sense, and was a solid choice, since Ingrid Bergman was nominated for the wrong film (not Casablanca). And Best Supporting Actor was Charles Coburn for The More the Merrier (talked about here). Great decision, although it breaks my heart to see Claude Rains lose.

Then there’s this category. Weak as hell, completely irrelevant, historically, and thoroughly forgettable in every way. The decision almost doesn’t matter.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – 1943

And the nominees were…

Gladys Cooper, The Song of Bernadette

Paulette Goddard, So Proudly We Hail!

Katina Paxinou, For Whom the Bell Tolls

Anne Revere, The Song of Bernadette

Lucile Watson, Watch on the Rhine (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1943

1943. Great year. Hard to argue when your Best Picture is Casablanca and Michael Curtiz also wins Best Director for it (talked about here). But you know what? Complaints can be made here. Complaints that Casablanca didn’t win more.

Best Actress this year was Jennifer Jones for The Song of Bernadette (talked about here). I’m sort of okay with this, because Ingrid Bergman was nominated for the wrong film. Best Supporting Actor was Charles Coburn for The More the Merrier (talked about here), which was a fine decision, and a great performance, but I personally think Claude Rains should have won for Casablanca. And Best Supporting Actress was Katina Paxinou for For Whom the Bell Tolls, which was in one of the weakest Best Supporting Actress categories of all time (and there was no Casablanca nomination there), so it was okay.

And then there’s this category. One of the top five worst Best Actor decisions of all time. One of the bottom three worst Best Actor-winning performances of all time. This is just a shitty decision all around. I actually went back to watch this film again to double check that it was so bad. It was.

BEST ACTOR – 1943

And the nominees were…

Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca

Gary Cooper, For Whom the Bell Tolls

Paul Lukas, Watch on the Rhine

Walter Pidgeon, Madame Curie

Mickey Rooney, The Human Comedy (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1943

Love me some 1943. Casablanca is such a perfect choice for Best Picture, I’m amazed it won. I really am. It also won Best Director for Michael Curtiz (talked about here), which he had coming to him for a while before this, so it was nice that it worked out the way it did. Now, Best Actor this year is a decision I hate very much. In fact, I think it’s a decision most people hate very much. Because Paul Lukas, who won for Watch on the Rhine, didn’t give that great of a performance. And he beat Humphrey Bogart for Casablanca. What the fuck happened?

Best Supporting Actor this year was Charles Coburn for The More the Merrier (talked about here). And, as I said in the article, while I love the performance, Claude Rains really should have won there. But I’m okay with it (because Claude Rains should have won in 1946 if he didn’t win here. So either way, it’s the Academy’s fault). And Best Supporting Actress was Katina Paxinou for For Whom the Bell Tolls, which, is pretty much a blank, since the category is really weak. I’d have gone another way, but, it’s not that major a decision where it’s good or bad.

Which brings us to this category. The big problem here is that Ingrid Bergman wasn’t nominated for Casablanca. That’s the performance that probably should have won here. Even so, it’s possible that she still could have won based solely on the strength of her year. I don’t think so, since they gave her three Oscars after this, but it’s possible that if she won here, maybe Barbara Stanwyck could have won her well-deserved Oscar the year after this. The world may never know.

BEST ACTRESS – 1943

And the nominees were…

Jean Arthur, The More the Merrier

Ingrid Bergman, For Whom the Bell Tolls

Joan Fontaine, The Constant Nymph

Greer Garson, Madame Curie

Jennifer Jones, The Song of Bernadette (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1943

You can’t help but love 1943. Casablanca is one of the greatest films ever made. Of course it should have won Best Picture, and Best Director for Michael Curtiz (talked about here), who desperately deserved one of these. It also should have won Best Actor, Best Actress and this award, but it didn’t. And all three are, to varying degrees, bad decisions. Only one of the three was atoned for. The other two — the worse decisions — were not.

Paul Lukas wins Best Actor for Watch on the Rhine, which is one of the worst five Best Actor winning performances of all time. It’s truly not good, and it’s shocking that Humphrey Bogart didn’t win. Then Best Actress was Jennifer Jones for The Song of Bernadette. This, I understand. Because — Ingrid Bergman, who should have won, wasn’t nominated for Casablanca. She was nominated for For Whom the Bell Tolls, which is a performance she shouldn’t have won for. So the Jennifer Jones vote makes perfect sense. Though it screwed up the year before this, when Ingrid Bergman did win and screwed Barbara Stanwyck out of an Oscar. Then Best Supporting Actress was Katina Paxinou for For Whom the Bell Tolls, which, I don’t really have an issue with, mostly because the category sucked. It’s a blank in history.

So, 1943 — they got the big decisions right, the medium decisions wrong (though both were atoned for later, in the sense that both Bogart and Bergman won Oscars), and the small decisions either wrong or indifferent. And this one — this hurts. There were two performances that should have won, but — after all is said and done, I consider this a bad decision. But it’s still a great performance. And that hurts more.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – 1943

And the nominees were…

Charles Bickford, The Song of Bernadette

Charles Coburn, The More the Merrier

J. Carrol Naish, Sahara

Claude Rains, Casablanca

Akim Tamiroff, For Whom the Bell Tolls (more…)


The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1943

1943 is another one of those years. You can’t really fault their choice, because it’s widely regarded as one of the best films of all time. And even if you did want to say, “Well, it’s not that great,” there’ not really another nominee you could point to as being more worthy. Which is great, because, less I have to write.

The Best Picture of 1943 was Casablanca. Best Actor — surprisingly — went to Paul Lukas, for Watch on the Rhine. I believe this is widely considered to be one of the worst choices of all time. Raise your hand if you know who Paul Lukas is. No cheating.

Best Actress was Jennifer Jones for The Song of Bernadette. Best Supporting Actor was Charles Coburn for The More the Merrier, and Best Supporting Actress was Katina Paxinou for For Whom the Bell Tolls.

I’ll sum up 1943 by saying, when Casablanca is involved, is there really any question what should win?

BEST DIRECTOR – 1943

And the nominees are…

Clarence Brown, The Human Comedy

Michael Curtiz, Casablanca

Henry King, The Song of Bernadette

Ernst Lubitsch, Heaven Can Wait

George Stevens, The More the Merrier (more…)