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This week we look back at the Academy Awards in the 1940s. This decade saw several new categories and many Academy Award “firsts”.

Image from the movie "Rebecca"

© 1940 Selznick International Pictures − All right reserved.

13th Academy Awards

The 13th Academy Awards honored American film achievements in 1940. This was the first year that sealed envelopes were used to keep secret the names of the winners which led to the famous phrase: “May I have the envelope, please?” The accounting firm of Price Waterhouse was hired to count the ballots, after the fiasco of leaked voting results in 1939 by the Los Angeles Times.

For the first time, the award for Best Screenplay was split into two separate categories: Best Original Screenplay and Best Screenplay.

Independent producer David O. Selznick, who had produced the previous year’s big winner Gone with the Wind (1939), also produced the Best Picture winner in 1940, Rebecca – and campaigned heavily for its win. Selznick was the first to produce two consecutive winners of the Best Picture Oscar. Although Rebecca had eleven nominations, it only won for Best Picture and Best Cinematography (Black and White), marking the last time a film would win Best Picture but not win for either directing, acting, or writing.

The film’s studio – United Artists – was the last of the original film studios (the others were MGM, Columbia, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Universal, and Paramount) to win the Best Picture Oscar. Rebecca was the first American-made film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and the only film from him to win Best Picture. Hitchcock had two films nominated for Best Picture, the other being Foreign Correspondent. Two other directors also had two films in the running this year: Sam Wood (Our Town and Kitty Foyle) and John Ford (The Long Voyage Home and The Grapes of Wrath, which won Best Director).

Pinocchio was the first animated film to take home competitive Oscars, for both Best Score and Best Song, starting a long tradition of animated films winning in these categories.

The Thief of Bagdad received the most Oscars of the evening, three, the first time a film not nominated for Best Picture won the most awards.


ACTOR – James Stewart The Philadelphia Story {“Mike Connor”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE – Walter BrennanThe Westerner {“Judge Roy Bean”}

ACTRESS Ginger RogersKitty Foyle {“Kitty Foyle”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Jane DarwellThe Grapes of Wrath {“Ma Joad”}

ART DIRECTION (Black-and-White) Pride and Prejudice — Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse

ART DIRECTION (Color) The Thief of Bagdad — Vincent Korda

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Black-and-White) Rebecca — George Barnes

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Color) The Thief of Bagdad — Georges Périnal

DIRECTING The Grapes of Wrath — John Ford

FILM EDITING North West Mounted Police — Anne Bauchens

MUSIC (Original Score) Pinocchio — Leigh Harline, Paul J. Smith, Ned Washington

MUSIC (Scoring) Tin Pan Alley — Alfred Newman

MUSIC (Song) “When You Wish Upon A Star” from Pinocchio — Music by Leigh Harline; Lyrics by Ned Washington

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION Rebecca — Selznick International Pictures

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon) The Milky Way — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel) Quicker ‘N a Wink — Pete Smith, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel) Teddy, the Rough Rider — Warner Bros.

SOUND RECORDING Strike Up the Band — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Sound Department, Douglas Shearer, Sound Director

SPECIAL EFFECTS The Thief of Bagdad — Photographic Effects by Lawrence Butler; Sound Effects by Jack Whitney

WRITING (Original Screenplay) The Great McGinty — Preston Sturges

WRITING (Original Story) Arise, My Love — Benjamin Glazer, John S. Toldy

WRITING (Screenplay) The Philadelphia Story — Donald Ogden Stewart


To Bob Hope, in recognition of his unselfish services to the Motion Picture Industry.

To Colonel Nathan Levinson for his outstanding service to the industry and the Army during the past nine years, which has made possible the present efficient mobilization of the motion picture industry facilities for the production of Army Training Films.

Image from the movie "How Green Was My Valley"

© 1941 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation − All right reserved.

14th Academy Awards

The 14th Academy Awards honored American film achievements in 1941 and was held in the Biltmore Bowl at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. The ceremony is now considered notable, in retrospect, as the year in which Citizen Kane failed to win Best Picture, which instead was awarded to John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley. Ford won his third award for Best Director, becoming the second to accomplish three wins in that category, and the first to win in consecutive years (having won for The Grapes of Wrath the previous year).

Most public attention was focused on the Best Actress race between sibling rivals Joan Fontaine in Alfred Hitchcock’s Suspicion and Olivia de Havilland for Hold Back the Dawn. Fontaine’s victory was the only time a performer won for a role in a Hitchcock film.

This was also the first year in which documentaries were included. The first Oscar for a documentary was awarded to Churchill’s Island.

The Little Foxes established a new high of nine nominations without winning a single Oscar. Its mark was matched by Peyton Place in 1957, and exceeded by The Turning Point and The Color Purple, both of which received 11 nominations without a win. Citizen Kane, often later designated as the greatest film ever made in a number of polls, was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture, but won only one, for Best Original Screenplay.

A portion of the ceremony was broadcast by CBS Radio.


ACTOR Gary CooperSergeant York {“Alvin C. York”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Donald CrispHow Green Was My Valley {“Mr. Morgan”}

ACTRESS Joan Fontaine Suspicion {“Lina McLaidlaw”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Mary AstorThe Great Lie {“Sandra Kovak”}

ART DIRECTION (Black-and-White) How Green Was My Valley –Art Direction: Richard Day, Nathan Juran; Interior Decoration: Thomas Little

ART DIRECTION (Color) Blossoms in the Dust — Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Urie McCleary; Interior Decoration: Edwin B. Willis

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Black-and-White) How Green Was My Valley — Arthur Miller

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Color) Blood and Sand — Ernest Palmer, Ray Rennahan

DIRECTING How Green Was My Valley — John Ford

DOCUMENTARY (Short Subject) Churchill’s Island — National Film Board of Canada

FILM EDITING Sergeant York — William Holmes

MUSIC (Music Score of a Dramatic Picture) All That Money Can Buy — Bernard Herrmann

MUSIC (Scoring of a Musical Picture) Dumbo — Frank Churchill, Oliver Wallace

MUSIC (Song) The Last Time I Saw Paris from Lady Be Good — Music by Jerome Kern; Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

OUTSTANDING MOTION PICTURE How Green Was My Valley — 20th Century-Fox

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon) Lend a Paw — Walt Disney, Producer


SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel) Of Pups and Puzzles — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel) Main Street on the March! — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

SOUND RECORDING That Hamilton Woman — General Service Sound Department, Jack Whitney, Sound Director

SPECIAL EFFECTS I Wanted Wings — Photographic Effects by Farciot Edouart, Gordon Jennings; Sound Effects by Louis Mesenkop

WRITING (Original Screenplay) Citizen Kane — Herman J. Mankiewicz, Orson Welles

WRITING (Original Story) Here Comes Mr. Jordan — Harry Segall

WRITING (Screenplay) Here Comes Mr. Jordan — Sidney Buchman, Seton I. Miller


To Rey Scott for his extraordinary achievement in producing Kukan, the film record of China’s struggle, including its photography with a 16mm camera under the most difficult and dangerous conditions.

To The British Ministry of Information for its vivid and dramatic presentation of the heroism of the RAF in the documentary film, Target for Tonight.

To Leopold Stokowski and his associates for their unique achievement in the creation of a new form of visualized music in Walt Disney’s production, Fantasia, thereby widening the scope of the motion picture as entertainment and as an art form.

To Walt Disney, William Garity, John N. A. Hawkins and the RCA Manufacturing Company for their outstanding contribution to the advancement of the use of sound in motion pictures through the production of Fantasia.


Walt Disney

The British wartime drama "Mrs. Miniver" won the Academy Award® for Best Picture in 1942.  The film received 12 Academy Award nominations and won six statuettes.  Pictured here in a scene still from the film are Henry Travers, who was nominated in the Supporting Actor category, and Greer Garson, who won the Lead Actress Oscar® for her performance in the film's title role.


15th Academy Awards

The 15th Academy Awards was held in the Cocoanut Grove at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles honoring the films of 1942. Best Picture honors went to the film Mrs. Miniver. The ceremony is most famous for the speech by the film’s Oscar-winning actress Greer Garson. Garson’s acceptance speech as Best Actress ran nearly 6 minutes and is generally considered to be the longest acceptance speech at an Academy Awards ceremony.

Mrs. Miniver was the second film (after My Man Godfrey in 1936) to receive nominations in all four acting categories, as well as the first film to garner five acting nominations.

Also notable at the ceremony, Irving Berlin presented the Academy Award for Best Song, which he ended up winning for “White Christmas”.

Best Documentary had four winners, something that has not happened before or since.



ACTOR James Cagney Yankee Doodle Dandy {“George M. Cohan”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Van Heflin — Johnny Eager {“Jeff Hartnett”}

ACTRESS Greer GarsonMrs. Miniver {“Kay Miniver”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Teresa WrightMrs. Miniver {“Carol Beldon”}

ART DIRECTION (Black-and-White) This above All — Art Direction: Richard Day, Joseph Wright; Interior Decoration: Thomas Little

ART DIRECTION (Color) My Gal Sal — Art Direction: Richard Day, Joseph Wright; Interior Decoration: Thomas Little

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Black-and-White) Mrs. Miniver — Joseph Ruttenberg

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Color) The Black Swan — Leon Shamroy

DIRECTING Mrs. Miniver — William Wyler


The Battle of Midway — United States Navy

[NOTE: “A special award to Battle of Midway for the historical value of its achievement in offering a camera record of one of the decisive battles of the world – a record unique both for the courage of those who made it under fire, and for its magnificent portrayal of the gallantry of our armed forces in battle.”]

Kokoda Front Line! — Australian News & Information Bureau

[NOTE: “A special award to Kokoda Front Line! for its effectiveness in portraying, simply yet forcefully, the scene of war in New Guinea and for its moving presentation of the bravery and fortitude of our Australian comrades in arms.”]

Moscow Strikes Back — Artkino

[NOTE: “A special award to Moscow Strikes Back for its vivid presentation of the heroism of the Russian Army and of the Russian people in the defense of Moscow, and for its achievement in so doing under conditions of extreme difficulty and danger.”]

Prelude to War — United States Army Special Services

[NOTE: “A special award to Prelude to War for its trenchant conception and authentic and stirring dramatization of the events which forced our nation into the war and of the ideals for which we fight.”]

FILM EDITING The Pride of the Yankees — Daniel Mandell

MUSIC (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) Now, Voyager — Max Steiner

MUSIC (Scoring of a Musical Picture) Yankee Doodle Dandy — Ray Heindorf, Heinz Roemheld

MUSIC (Song) “White Christmas” from Holiday Inn — Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin

OUTSTANDING MOTION PICTURE Mrs. Miniver — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon) Der Fuehrer’s Face — Walt Disney, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel) Speaking of Animals and Their Families — Paramount

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel) Beyond the Line of Duty — Warner Bros.

SOUND RECORDING Yankee Doodle Dandy — Warner Bros. Studio Sound Department, Nathan Levinson, Sound Director

SPECIAL EFFECTS Reap the Wild Wind — Photographic Effects by Gordon Jennings, Farciot Edouart, William L. Pereira; Sound Effects by Louis Mesenkop

WRITING (Original Motion Picture Story) The Invaders — Emeric Pressburger

WRITING (Original Screenplay) Woman of the Year — Ring Lardner, Jr., Michael Kanin

WRITING (Screenplay) Mrs. Miniver — Arthur Wimperis, George Froeschel, James Hilton, Claudine West


To Charles Boyer for his progressive cultural achievement in establishing the French Research Foundation in Los Angeles as a source of reference for the Hollywood Motion Picture Industry.

To Noel Coward for his outstanding production achievement in In Which We Serve.

To Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for its achievement in representing the American Way of Life in the production of the “Andy Hardy” series of films.


Sidney Franklin


16th Academy Awards

The 16th Academy Awards, in 1944, was the first Oscar ceremony held at a large public venue, Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Originating on KFWB, the complete ceremony was internationally broadcast by CBS Radio via shortwave. Jack Benny served as master of ceremonies for the event, which lasted fewer than 30 minutes.

The Tom and Jerry cartoon series won its first Oscar this year for The Yankee Doodle Mouse after two failed nominations in a row. It would go on to win another six Oscars, including three in a row for the next three years, and gained a total of 13 nominations.

For the first time, supporting actors and actresses took home full-size statuettes, instead of smaller-sized awards mounted on a plaque.

For Whom the Bell Tolls was the third film to receive nominations in all four acting categories.

This was the last year until 2009 to have 10 nominations for Best Picture; The Ox-Bow Incident is, as of 2016, the last film to be nominated solely in that category.


ACTOR Paul LukasWatch on the Rhine {“Kurt Muller”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Charles CoburnThe More the Merrier {“Benjamin Dingle”}

ACTRESS Jennifer Jones The Song of Bernadette {“Bernadette Soubirous”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Katina PaxinouFor Whom the Bell Tolls {“Pilar”}

ART DIRECTION (Black-and-White) The Song of Bernadette — Art Direction: James Basevi, William Darling; Interior Decoration: Thomas Little

ART DIRECTION (Color) Phantom of the Opera — Art Direction: John B. Goodman, Alexander Golitzen; Interior Decoration: Russell A. Gausman, Ira S. Webb

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Black-and-White) The Song of Bernadette — Arthur Miller

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Color) Phantom of the Opera — Hal Mohr, W. Howard Greene

DIRECTING Casablanca Michael Curtiz

DOCUMENTARY (Feature) Desert Victory — British Ministry of Information

DOCUMENTARY (Short Subject) December 7th — United States Navy

FILM EDITING Air Force — George Amy

MUSIC (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) The Song of Bernadette — Alfred Newman

MUSIC (Scoring of a Musical Picture) This Is the Army — Ray Heindorf

MUSIC (Song) “You’ll Never Know” from Hello, Frisco, Hello — Music by Harry Warren; Lyrics by Mack Gordon


SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon) Yankee Doodle Mouse — Frederick Quimby, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel) Amphibious Fighters — Grantland Rice, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel) Heavenly Music — Jerry Bresler and Sam Coslow, Producers

SOUND RECORDING This Land Is Mine — RKO Radio Studio Sound Department, Stephen Dunn, Sound Director

SPECIAL EFFECTS Crash Dive — Photographic Effects by Fred Sersen; Sound Effects by Roger Heman

WRITING (Original Motion Picture Story) The Human Comedy — William Saroyan

WRITING (Original Screenplay) Princess O’Rourke — Norman Krasna

WRITING (Screenplay) Casablanca — Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch


To George Pal for the development of novel methods and techniques in the production of short subjects known as Puppetoons.


Hal B. Wallis

Going My Way


17th Academy Awards

The 17th Academy Awards marked the first time the complete awards ceremony was broadcast nationally, on the Blue Network (ABC Radio). Bob Hope hosted the 70-minute broadcast, which included film clips that required explanation for the radio audience. This tradition ended abruptly after the 1948 ceremony as a result of the Paramount antitrust decrees, only to return gradually since the late 1960s.

This is the first year that the Best Picture category was limited to five pictures. This was also the first and only time an individual was nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for playing the same role in the same film: Barry Fitzgerald for the character of Father Fitzgibbon in Going My Way. He won for Best Supporting Actor.



ACTOR Bing CrosbyGoing My Way {“Father O’Malley”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Barry FitzgeraldGoing My Way {“Father Fitzgibbon”}

ACTRESS Ingrid BergmanGaslight {“Paula Alquist”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Ethel BarrymoreNone but the Lonely Heart {“Ma Mott”}

ART DIRECTION (Black-and-White) Gaslight — Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, William Ferrari; Interior Decoration: Edwin B. Willis, Paul Huldschinsky

ART DIRECTION (Color) Wilson — Art Direction: Wiard Ihnen; Interior Decoration: Thomas Little

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Black-and-White) Laura — Joseph LaShelle

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Color) Wilson — Leon Shamroy

DIRECTING Going My Way — Leo McCarey

DOCUMENTARY (Feature) The Fighting Lady — United States Navy

DOCUMENTARY (Short Subject) With the Marines at Tarawa — United States Marine Corps

FILM EDITING Wilson — Barbara McLean

MUSIC (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) Since You Went Away — Max Steiner

MUSIC (Scoring of a Musical Picture) Cover Girl — Morris Stoloff, Carmen Dragon

MUSIC (Song) “Swinging On A Star” from Going My Way — Music by James Van Heusen; Lyrics by Johnny Burke

BEST MOTION PICTURE Going My Way — Paramount

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon) Mouse Trouble — Frederick C. Quimby, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel) Who’s Who in Animal Land — Jerry Fairbanks, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel) I Won’t Play — Gordon Hollingshead, Producer

SOUND RECORDING Wilson — 20th Century-Fox Studio Sound Department, E. H. Hansen, Sound Director

SPECIAL EFFECTS Thirty Seconds over Tokyo — Photographic Effects by A. Arnold Gillespie, Donald Jahraus, Warren Newcombe; Sound Effects by Douglas Shearer

WRITING (Original Motion Picture Story) Going My Way — Leo McCarey

WRITING (Original Screenplay) Wilson — Lamar Trotti

WRITING (Screenplay) Going My Way — Frank Butler, Frank Cavett


To Margaret O’Brien, outstanding child actress of 1944.

To Bob Hope for his many services to the Academy.


Darryl F. Zanuck


Image from the movie "The Lost Weekend"

© 1945 Paramount − All right reserved.

18th Academy Awards

The 18th Academy Awards was the first such ceremony after World War II. As a result, the ceremony featured more glamour than had been present during the war. Plaster statuettes that had been given out during the war years were replaced with bronze statuettes with gold plating. Despite this, director Billy Wilder’s grim and socially significant drama The Lost Weekend took the top honors. It became the first film to win both the Academy Award for Best Picture and the Palme d’Or. Joan Crawford was absent, claiming she had pneumonia (although it was said it was because she was sure she would not win the Academy Award for Best Actress for Mildred Pierce). As it turned out she did win, and the award was delivered to her while in bed that night


ACTOR Ray MillandThe Lost Weekend {“Don Birnam”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE James Dunn — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn {“Johnny Nolan”}

ACTRESS Joan CrawfordMildred Pierce {“Mildred Pierce”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Anne RevereNational Velvet {“Mrs. Brown”}

ART DIRECTION (Black-and-White) Blood on the Sun — Art Direction: Wiard Ihnen; Interior Decoration: A. Roland Fields

ART DIRECTION (Color) Frenchman’s Creek — Art Direction: Hans Dreier, Ernst Fegte; Interior Decoration: Sam Comer

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Black-and-White) The Picture of Dorian Gray — Harry Stradling

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Color) Leave Her to Heaven — Leon Shamroy

DIRECTING The Lost Weekend — Billy Wilder

DOCUMENTARY (Feature) The True Glory — The Governments of Great Britain and the United States of America

DOCUMENTARY (Short Subject) Hitler Lives? — Gordon Hollingshead, Producer

FILM EDITING National Velvet — Robert J. Kern

MUSIC (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) Spellbound — Miklos Rozsa

MUSIC (Scoring of a Musical Picture) Anchors Aweigh — Georgie Stoll

MUSIC (Song) “It Might As Well Be Spring” from State Fair — Music by Richard Rodgers; Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II

BEST MOTION PICTURE The Lost Weekend — Paramount

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon) Quiet Please! — Frederick Quimby, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel) Stairway to Light — Herbert Moulton, Producer; Jerry Bresler, Executive Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel) Star in the Night — Gordon Hollingshead, Producer

SOUND RECORDING The Bells of St. Mary’s — RKO Radio Studio Sound Department, Stephen Dunn, Sound Director

SPECIAL EFFECTS Wonder Man — Photographic Effects by John Fulton; Sound Effects by Arthur W. Johns

WRITING (Original Motion Picture Story) The House on 92nd Street — Charles G. Booth

WRITING (Original Screenplay) Marie-Louise — Richard Schweizer

WRITING (Screenplay) The Lost Weekend — Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder


To Walter Wanger for his six years service as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

To Peggy Ann Garner, outstanding child actress of 1945.

To The House I Live In, tolerance short subject; produced by Frank Ross and Mervyn LeRoy; directed by Mervyn LeRoy; screenplay by Albert Maltz; song “The House I Live In,” music by Earl Robinson, lyrics by Lewis Allan; starring Frank Sinatra; released by RKO Radio.

To Republic Studio, Daniel J. Bloomberg and the Republic Studio Sound Department for the building of an outstanding musical scoring auditorium which provides optimum recording conditions and combines all elements of acoustic and engineering design.


The 1946 Academy Award®-winning film "The Best Years of Our Lives" starred (l to r) Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy, Frederic March, Hoagy Carmichael and Harold Russell.  The film, which depicted the problems faced by three veterans readjusting to their lives at home following World War II, was nominated for eight Academy Awards® and won seven including Best Picture.

19th Academy Awards

The 19th Academy Awards continued a trend through the late-1940s of the Oscar voters honoring films about contemporary social issues. Best Picture winner The Best Years of Our Lives concerns the lives of three returning veterans from three branches of military service as they adjust to life on the home front after World War II.

The Academy awarded Harold Russell–a World War II veteran who had lost both hands in the war and who, despite not being an actor, portrayed Homer Parrish in The Best Years of Our Livesan Honorary Academy Award for “bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans,” believing he would not win the Best Supporting Actor award for which he was nominated. As it happened, he did win the competitive award, making him the only person to receive two Oscars for the same performance.

This was the first time since the 2nd Academy Awards that every category had at most 5 nominations.


ACTOR Fredric MarchThe Best Years of Our Lives {“Al Stephenson”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Harold RussellThe Best Years of Our Lives {“Homer Parrish”}

ACTRESS Olivia de Havilland — To Each His Own {“Jody Norris”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Anne BaxterThe Razor’s Edge {“Sophie MacDonald”}

ART DIRECTION (Black-and-White) Anna and the King of Siam — Art Direction: Lyle Wheeler, William Darling; Interior Decoration: Thomas Little, Frank E. Hughes

ART DIRECTION (Color) The Yearling — Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse; Interior Decoration: Edwin B. Willis

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Black-and-White) Anna and the King of Siam — Arthur Miller

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Color) The Yearling — Charles Rosher, Leonard Smith, Arthur Arling

DIRECTING The Best Years of Our Lives — William Wyler

DOCUMENTARY (Short Subject) Seeds of Destiny — United States Department of War

FILM EDITING The Best Years of Our Lives — Daniel Mandell

MUSIC (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) The Best Years of Our Lives — Hugo Friedhofer

MUSIC (Scoring of a Musical Picture) The Jolson Story — Morris Stoloff

MUSIC (Song) “On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe” from The Harvey Girls — Music by Harry Warren; Lyrics by Johnny Mercer

BEST MOTION PICTURE The Best Years of Our Lives — Samuel Goldwyn Productions

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon) The Cat Concerto — Frederick Quimby, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel) Facing Your Danger — Gordon Hollingshead, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel) A Boy and His Dog — Gordon Hollingshead, Producer

SOUND RECORDING The Jolson Story — Columbia Studio Sound Department, John Livadary, Sound Director

SPECIAL EFFECTS Blithe Spirit — Special Visual Effects by Thomas Howard

WRITING (Original Motion Picture Story) Vacation from Marriage — Clemence Dane

WRITING (Original Screenplay) The Seventh Veil — Muriel Box, Sydney Box

WRITING (Screenplay) The Best Years of Our Lives — Robert E. Sherwood


To Laurence Olivier for his outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director in bringing Henry V to the screen.

To Harold Russell for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans through his appearance in The Best Years of Our Lives.

To Ernst Lubitsch for his distinguished contributions to the art of the motion picture.

To Claude Jarman, Jr., outstanding child actor of 1946.


Samuel Goldwyn

"Gentleman's Agreement" received eight Academy Award® nominations and won three Oscars®.  In addition to being voted the Best Picture of 1947, Elia Kazan was named Best Director for his work on the film and Celeste Holm was honored as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anne Dettrey.  Pictured left to right: Gregory Peck, Celeste Holm, John Garfield, Robert Karnes and Gene Nelson.


20th Academy Awards

No film received more than three awards at the 20th Academy Awards. This would not recur until the 78th Academy Awards.

Rosalind Russell was highly favored to win Best Actress her performance in Mourning Becomes Electra, but Loretta Young won instead for The Farmer’s Daughter.

James Baskett received a special Oscar for his portrayal of Uncle Remus in Song of the South, which made him the first black man and the first Walt Disney star to win an Academy Award for acting.

At age 71, Edmund Gwenn was the oldest Oscar-winner to that time. The previous oldest was Charles Coburn, who was 66 at the time of his win. In 1976, George Burns would become the oldest Oscar-winner, at age 80. As of 2014, Christopher Plummer, age 82, became the oldest Oscar winner.  He is nominated again this year (2017).


ACTOR Ronald ColmanA Double Life {“Anthony John”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Edmund GwennMiracle on 34th Street {“Kris Kringle”}

ACTRESS Loretta Young — The Farmer’s Daughter {“Katrin Holstrom”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Celeste HolmGentleman’s Agreement {“Anne”}

ART DIRECTION (Black-and-White) Great Expectations — Art Direction: John Bryan; Set Decoration: Wilfred Shingleton

ART DIRECTION (Color) Black Narcissus — Art Direction: Alfred Junge; Set Decoration: Alfred Junge

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Black-and-White) Great Expectations — Guy Green

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Color) Black Narcissus — Jack Cardiff

DIRECTING Gentleman’s Agreement — Elia Kazan

DOCUMENTARY (Feature) Design for Death — Sid Rogell, Executive Producer; Theron Warth and Richard O. Fleischer, Producers

DOCUMENTARY (Short Subject) First Steps — United Nations Division of Films and Visual Information

FILM EDITING Body and Soul — Francis Lyon, Robert Parrish

MUSIC (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) A Double Life — Dr. Miklos Rozsa

MUSIC (Scoring of a Musical Picture) Mother Wore Tights — Alfred Newman

MUSIC (Song) “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” from Song of the South — Music by Allie Wrubel; Lyrics by Ray Gilbert

BEST MOTION PICTURE Gentleman’s Agreement 20th Century-Fox

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon) Tweetie Pie — Edward Selzer, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel) Good-bye Miss Turlock — Herbert Moulton, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel) Climbing the Matterhorn — Irving Allen, Producer

SOUND RECORDING The Bishop’s Wife — Samuel Goldwyn Studio Sound Department, Gordon Sawyer, Sound Director

SPECIAL EFFECTS Green Dolphin Street — Special Visual Effects by A. Arnold Gillespie, Warren Newcombe; Special Audible Effects by Douglas Shearer, Michael Steinore

WRITING (Motion Picture Story) Miracle on 34th Street — Valentine Davies

WRITING (Original Screenplay) The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer — Sidney Sheldon

WRITING (Screenplay) Miracle on 34th Street — George Seaton


To James Baskett for his able and heart-warming characterization of Uncle Remus, friend and story teller to the children of the world in Walt Disney’s Song of the South.

To Bill and Coo, in which artistry and patience blended in a novel and entertaining use of the medium of motion pictures.

To Shoe-Shine – the high quality of this motion picture, brought to eloquent life in a country scarred by war, is proof to the world that the creative spirit can triumph over adversity.

To Colonel William N. Selig, Albert E. Smith, Thomas Armat and George K. Spoor (one of) the small group of pioneers whose belief in a new medium, and whose contributions to its development, blazed the trail along which the motion picture has progressed, in their lifetime, from obscurity to world-wide acclaim.

A scene still from the Academy Award®-winning film "Hamlet" features Laurence Olivier as Hamlet and Eileen Herlie as Gertrude, the Queen.  Olivier won the Lead Actor Oscar® for his portrayal of the Prince of Denmark in the 1948 film.

21st Academy Awards

The 21st Academy Awards features numerous firsts. It was the first time a non-Hollywood production won Best Picture, Hamlet. It was the first time an individual (Laurence Olivier) directed himself in an Oscar-winning performance.

It was the first Academy Awards ceremony to be giving awards for Best Costume Design.

John Huston directed two films in this awards year for which his actors won Oscars: his father, Walter Huston, in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre; and Claire Trevor for Key Largo. The Huston family won three Oscars that evening.

The ceremony was moved from the Shrine Auditorium to the Academy’s own theater, primarily because the major Hollywood studios had withdrawn their financial support in order to address rumors that they had been trying to influence voters.

Humphrey Bogart failed to receive a nomination for Best Actor in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, eventually considered one of the Academy’s greatest slights.

Joan of Arc became the first film to receive as many as seven nominations without being nominated for Best Picture. Hamlet became the fifth film to win Best Picture without a screenwriting nomination; the next to do so would be The Sound of Music at the 38th Academy Awards. Jane Wyman became the first performer since the silent era to win an Oscar for a performance with no lines; Johnny Belinda became the fourth film to receive nominations in all four acting categories.

I Remember Mama received four acting nominations but not one for Best Picture, tying the record set by My Man Godfrey in 1936. Two more films would also tie this record: Othello (1965) and Doubt (2008).


ACTOR Laurence OlivierHamlet {“Hamlet”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Walter HustonThe Treasure of the Sierra Madre {“Howard”}

ACTRESS Jane WymanJohnny Belinda {“Belinda McDonald”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Claire TrevorKey Largo {“Gaye”}

ART DIRECTION (Black-and-White) Hamlet — Art Direction: Roger K. Furse; Set Decoration: Carmen Dillon

ART DIRECTION (Color) The Red Shoes — Art Direction: Hein Heckroth; Set Decoration: Arthur Lawson

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Black-and-White) The Naked City — William Daniels

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Color) Joan of Arc — Joseph Valentine, William V. Skall, Winton Hoch

COSTUME DESIGN (Black-and-White) Hamlet — Roger K. Furse

COSTUME DESIGN (Color) Joan of Arc — Dorothy Jeakins, Karinska

DIRECTING The Treasure of the Sierra Madre — John Huston

DOCUMENTARY (Feature) The Secret Land — Orville O. Dull, Producer

DOCUMENTARY (Short Subject) Toward Independence — United States Army

FILM EDITING The Naked City — Paul Weatherwax

MUSIC (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) The Red Shoes — Brian Easdale

MUSIC (Scoring of a Musical Picture) Easter Parade — Johnny Green, Roger Edens

MUSIC (Song) “Buttons And Bows” from The Paleface — Music and Lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans

BEST MOTION PICTURE Hamlet — J. Arthur Rank-Two Cities Films

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon) The Little Orphan — Fred Quimby, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel) Symphony of a City — Edmund H. Reek, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel) Seal Island — Walt Disney, Producer

SOUND RECORDING The Snake Pit — 20th Century-Fox Studio Sound Department, Thomas T. Moulton, Sound Director

SPECIAL EFFECTS Portrait of Jennie — Special Visual Effects by Paul Eagler, J. McMillan Johnson, Russell Shearman, Clarence Slifer; Special Audible Effects by Charles Freeman, James G. Stewart

WRITING (Motion Picture Story) The Search — Richard Schweizer, David Wechsler

WRITING (Screenplay) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre — John Huston


To Monsieur Vincent – voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1948.


To Ivan Jandl, for the outstanding juvenile performance of 1948, as “Karel Malik” in The Search.

To Sid Grauman, master showman, who raised the standard of exhibition of motion pictures.

To Adolph Zukor, a man who has been called the father of the feature film in America, for his services to the industry over a period of forty years.

To Walter Wanger for distinguished service to the industry in adding to its moral stature in the world community by his production of the picture Joan of Arc.

To Jean Hersholt – in recognition of his service to the Academy during four terms as president.

[NOTE: Presented on “Jean Hersholt Night,” June 26, 1949, at the Academy building.]


Jerry Wald


All the King's Men


22nd Academy Awards

The 22nd Academy Awards was held on March 23, 1950, at the RKO Pantages Theatre and awarded Oscars for the best in films in 1949. This was the final year in which all five Best Picture nominees were in black and white


ACTOR Broderick CrawfordAll the King’s Men {“Willie Stark”}

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Dean JaggerTwelve O’Clock High {“Major Stovall”}

ACTRESS Olivia de HavillandThe Heiress {“Catherine Sloper”}

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE Mercedes McCambridge All the King’s Men {“Sadie Burke”}

ART DIRECTION (Black-and-White) The Heiress — Art Direction: Harry Horner, John Meehan; Set Decoration: Emile Kuri

ART DIRECTION (Color) Little Women — Art Direction: Cedric Gibbons, Paul Groesse; Set Decoration: Edwin B. Willis, Jack D. Moore

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Black-and-White) Battleground — Paul C. Vogel

CINEMATOGRAPHY (Color) She Wore a Yellow Ribbon — Winton Hoch

COSTUME DESIGN (Black-and-White) The Heiress — Edith Head, Gile Steele

COSTUME DESIGN (Color) The Adventures of Don Juan — Leah Rhodes, Travilla, Marjorie Best

DIRECTING A Letter to Three Wives — Joseph L. Mankiewicz

DOCUMENTARY (Feature) Daybreak in Udi — Crown Film Unit

DOCUMENTARY (Short Subject) A Chance to Live — Richard de Rochemont, Producer; So Much for So Little — Edward Selzer, Producer

[NOTE: A tie. The other winning film in this category was A Chance to Live.]

FILM EDITING Champion — Harry Gerstad

MUSIC (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) The Heiress — Aaron Copland

MUSIC (Scoring of a Musical Picture) On the Town — Roger Edens, Lennie Hayton

MUSIC (Song) “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from Neptune’s Daughter — Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser

BEST MOTION PICTURE All the King’s Men — Robert Rossen Productions

SHORT SUBJECT (Cartoon) For Scent-Imental Reasons — Edward Selzer, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (One-reel) Aquatic House-Party — Jack Eaton, Producer

SHORT SUBJECT (Two-reel) Van Gogh — Gaston Diehl and Robert Haessens, Producers

SOUND RECORDING Twelve O’Clock High — 20th Century-Fox Studio Sound Department, Thomas T. Moulton, Sound Director

SPECIAL EFFECTS Mighty Joe Young — ARKO Productions

WRITING (Motion Picture Story) The Stratton Story — Douglas Morrow

WRITING (Screenplay) A Letter to Three Wives — Joseph L. Mankiewicz

WRITING (Story and Screenplay) Battleground — Robert Pirosh


To The Bicycle Thief – voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1949.


To Bobby Driscoll, as the outstanding juvenile actor of 1949.

To Fred Astaire for his unique artistry and his contributions to the technique of musical pictures.

To Cecil B. DeMille, distinguished motion picture pioneer, for 37 years of brilliant showmanship.

To Jean Hersholt, for distinguished service to the motion picture industry.


For the Complete Listing of Academy Award nominees and winners click here.


See all the Academy Award Nominees and Winners 1929 - 1987 here.


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