Posts tagged “1944

Mike’s Top Ten of 1944

For me, the big thing about 1944 is the noirs. I know the war is still in full force and the dominant set of films are either pro-war movies or light and fluffy stuff to take people’s minds off of it. But really, the thing that stands out is the amount of noir films that came out this year. This is really the first year where the noirs are a staple of cinema. Sure, all those other ones were the headliners, but the noirs played in front of all of them.

You look at this list — maybe 7 or 8 noirs in total. And it’ll only grow from here. This is the time when the cynical underbelly of society started to pop up. Most people speak of that popping up post-war. With everyone returning to the suburbs and people’s collective weariness about the war and all of that starting to creep into the films. But you really start to see it as early as 1944. It doesn’t solidify until after the war, but you definitely start to see it happening as early as now. I’d say the noirs here are much more “drama”-leaning. That is to say, they’re presented more like dramas than what we’d consider the traditional noirs. But they’re still noirs by any account.

That’s how I look at this list — great comedies, great war films, and that nice underbelly of noirs. Just how I like it. (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Picture – 1944

And this is where we settle into routine (for the most part) for the next 65 years. From here on out (until 2009), it’s five nominees a year. Also, we’re nearing the end of the war. This is the year where the tide turned. Not to mention, this is the year where America started to tire of the war. At first it was nice: “Support the war! Support our troops!” But then, after three years and no end in sight, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t be so quick to support that message. So what happens is — they try escapism. They go for the gay musical starring the biggest star in Hollywood. Then, when that doesn’t work, they become cynical. That’s when the noir kicks in. If Double Indemnity came out in 1945, it would have won. But here, America wasn’t cynical yet.

Going My Way wins Best Picture, Best Director for Leo McCarey (talked about here), Best Actor for Bing Crosby (talked about here), and Best Supporting Actor for Barry Fitzgerald (talked about here). I support all the wins except Best Director (though that makes sense). Then, Best Actress was Ingrid Bergman for Gaslight (talked about here), which feels like a makeup Oscar for the year before this (where she should have been nominated for Casablanca). Shame that she beat Barbara Stanwyck, but — shit happens. And Best Supporting Actress was Ethel Barrymore for None But the Lonely Heart (talked about here), which is just a weak and boring decision.

So that’s 1944. Most people would (and rightfully so) say that Double Indemnity should have won here. But, when you take into account the state of the industry (and the country) at the time — it makes sense why it didn’t.


And the nominees were…

Double Indemnity (Paramount)

Gaslight (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)

Going My Way (Paramount)

Since You Went Away (Selznick, United Artists)

Wilson (20th Century Fox) (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actress – 1944

I don’t know if my subconscious is really smart or really dickish. Or really dickish because it’s really smart. It seems like these last few days have been nothing but shit categories. Now, to show you behind the curtain: what I do when figuring out what posts are going up each month is, I figure out which categories are finished and which ones have the most years left to write up. I like to space out each category, so that you don’t get Best Actor after Best Actor every day (unless I have a lot of that category, like last month, where the first half was all Best Actress categories). Then what I do is just pick randomly which years go where. I try to make it so years aren’t in close proximity to years near it. Like, yesterday was 1990, today is 1944, tomorrow will be 1959, and then after that is 1976. It’s spread out.

I’m not really paying attention to what specific categories are going up when I plan this. It’s just about spreading out the years. Which is why, either my subconscious is really smart or really dickish. Because either it was like, “All of these categories really suck. Mike’s gonna hate having to write them up. Let’s put them in his birthday month so he has no choice but to do them and not put them off.” Or it was like, “Let’s put them in his birthday month because he’s got all that other stuff going on that he likes that he’ll be able to power through it and get them over with so he doesn’t have to deal with them all later.” I’d like to think it was the latter. But, honestly, it’s probably pure happenstance. I just thought I should mention it because I like weird coincidences like this. It’s rare to see so many shitty categories in a row.

Anywho, I find 1944 to be a very boring year. Mostly because the best film of the year lost to a crowd pleaser. Going My Way wins Best Picture, Best Actor for Bing Crosby (talked about here), Best Supporting Actor for Barry Fitzgerald (talked about here) and Best Director for Leo McCarey (talked about here). I love the acting decisions, but I don’t agree with the Picture decision and hate the Director decision. Hitchcock or Billy Wilder should have won there, and Double Indemnity really should have won Best Picture. Then there’s Best Actress, which was Ingrid Bergman for Gaslight (talked about here), which is clearly a makeup Oscar for her not winning the year before (she was nominated for For Whom the Bell Tolls instead of Casablanca, which is what she should have won for), which screwed Barbara Stanwyck out of a well-deserved Oscar. So this year is just chaos. Punctuated (or rather, underscored) by this piece of shit category, where once again, the Academy votes for the worst possible choice. And don’t give me that veteran shit — she shouldn’t have won.


And the nominees were…

Ethel Barrymore, None But the Lonely Heart

Jennifer Jones, Since You Went Away

Angela Lansbury, Gaslight

Aline MacMahon, Dragon Seed

Agnes Moorehead, Mrs. Parkington (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actress – 1944

This year is the last year history was made. That is — Greer Garson is one of only two actresses to be nominated for Best Actress for five consecutive years. Can you believe that? Five consecutive years. Not even Brando did that, and not just because he was a male actor. The first person to do it was Bette Davis, which, ironically, her five years overlapped with Greer’s. And even more coincidental is, both were nominated for six out of seven as well. Bette Davis was nominated for five in a row, skipped a year at the end, then got a sixth nomination right after. Greer Garson got one nomination, skipped a year, then got five in a row. I love these types of coincidences.

For trivia purposes, Davis’s nominations were: 1938: Jezebel (won), 1939: Dark Victory: 1940: The Letter, 1941: The Little Foxes, and 1942: Now, Voyager. Then a skip year and in 1944: Mr. Skeffington. Garson’s nominations were: 1939: Goodbye, Mr. Chips, then a skip year, then, 1941: Blossoms in the Dust, 1942: Mrs. Miniver (won), 1943: Madame Curie, 1944: Mrs. Parkington, and 1945: The Valley of Decision. So, for the seven years between 1939 and 1945, Greer Garson and Bette Davis were two of the five Best Actress nominees in ’39, ’41, ’42, and ’44. And in 1944, their films were Mr. Skeffington and Mrs. Parkington. Eerie, right?

As for the rest of 1944, Going My Way wins Best Picture, Best Director for Leo McCarey (talked about here), Best Actor for Bing Crosby (talked about here) and Best Supporting Actor for Barry Fitzgerald (talked about here). And Ethel Barrymore wins Best Supporting Actress for None But the Lonely Heart. In all I think this is an okay year, but not as good as it could have been.


And the nominees were…

Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight

Claudette Colbert, Since You Went Away

Bette Davis, Mr. Skeffington

Greer Garson, Mrs. Parkington

Barbara Stanwyck, Double Indemnity (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Supporting Actor – 1944

1944. Don’t love it. Like Going My Way a lot, don’t like it as a Best Picture winner. Double Indemnity was a much better film and choice. Bing Crosby as Best Actor (which I talked about here) I like as a decision. Leo McCarey as Best Director for the film (which I talked about here), I do not like.

Ingrid Bergman winning Best Actress for Gaslight is a choice I think had to happen. I, personally, would have went with Barbara Stanwyck, but, as a decision in and of itself, it makes sense. Ethel Barrymore as Best Supporting Actress for None But the Lonely Heart — it is what it is. Veteran Oscar. Don’t like it, but, what can you do? So, the year is pretty ho-hum for me. It’s just kind of there.

This category in particular — there was really no other option. It was pretty weak, and you had a lead role going supporting, one that was really good at that — there was no other choice.


And the nominees were…

Hume Cronyn, The Seventh Cross

Barry Fitzgerald, Going My Way

Claude Rains, Mr. Skeffington

Clifton Webb, Laura

Monty Woolley, Since You Went Away (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Actor – 1944

I used to really dislike 1944 as an Oscar year. I like Going My Way a lot, but I never liked it as a Best Picture choice, especially since Double Indemnity was also up for Best Picture that year. And even if it did win, Leo McCarey winning Best Director? Was that necessary? He had one already, and I think most people agree that Double Indemnity is the superior directorial effort. So much so that I think Billy Wilder got one of those Fred Zinnemann type makeup Oscars the year after this (he directed The Lost Weekend, which won Best Picture in ’45).

I also wondered why Going My Way also won Best Supporting Actor for Barry Fitzgerald (which, I kind of understood, but I hadn’t seen any of the other nominees yet, so I figured there must have been a better choice) and even this category. That’s four of the six major awards, for a film that’s nothing more than Boys Town with some music thrown in. Also, just to recap, Ingrid Bergman won a pseudo makeup Oscar for Gaslight this year, and Ethel Barrymore wins Best Supporting Actress for None But the Lonely Heart, a clear and obvious veteran win.

So, with all of that — I saw no decisions I could get behind at all. It seemed like a bad year. Not terrible, just, bad. But now, after having seen many things, I’ve sort of come around on a few of the categories. I can at least either agree with or accept three of them, while still considering three of them bad decisions. But fortunately, though, one of the ones I agree with was this one, so, that’s good, right?


And the nominees were…

Charles Boyer, Gaslight

Bing Crosby, Going My Way

Barry Fitzgerald, Going My Way

Cary Grant, None But the Lonely Heart

Alexander Knox, Wilson (more…)

The Oscar Quest: Best Director – 1944

1944. I consider this year a missed opportunity. The Academy could have really went out on a limb and gave a great film Best Picture. But instead they went with the safe choice. Going My Way, which is a very good film, but really didn’t need to win Best Picture, Best Director Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Best Actor is cool, because who dosen’t like Bing Crosby? I can’t remember who he was up against offhand, but let’s assume it’s okay. (Note: Looked it up. Totally cool with it.) Oh, also, Barry Fitzgerald, who won Best Supporting Actor, was also nominated for Best Actor for the exact same role. Only time that’s happened in Academy history. After this they just settled into the standard category fraud that we’re used to.

Anywho, the other two awards we haven’t covered yet were Ingrid Bergman for Gaslight, a makeup Oscar if I’ve ever seen one — she was nominated for For Whom the Bell Tolls and not for Casablanca the year before this, plus she did a great job here, so there was really no way she wasn’t winning — and Ethel Barrymore for None But the Lonely Heart. I’m really not all that upset with most of the decisions this year — or at least, I don’t object too much, past Best Picture and this category, because those just weren’t necessary at all.


And the nominees were…

Alfred Hitchcock, Lifeboat

Henry King, Wilson

Leo McCarey, Going My Way

Otto Preminger, Laura

Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity (more…)