I'd like to spank the Academy

jane wyman

Jane Wyman with her Oscar for Best Actress.

Here’s an interesting fact: if you push “save draft” instead of “publish,” your blog post does not show up on your blog. Crazy, right? So I apologize that this post didn’t show up a couple of weeks ago when I reviewed the movies from 1948. I’m also sorry that I’ve been AWOL in general; I got bit by an organizing bug and started cleaning my house. That never happens, so I had to take full advantage of it. But I’m back on track for the coming week, and hopefully I will be able to get back in my blogging groove. So without further ado, I present the 21st Academy Awards.

One thing that I love about doing this project is that I get to see a lot of movies that I’ve been meaning to watch, but have never gotten around to. But it’s sad, too, because some of those movies that I want to watch and expect to be watching (mostly because they’re so famous) turn out not to have been nominated for best picture. For 1948, those movies include Key Largo, I Remember Mama, and Joan of Arc with Ingrid Bergman. I will still probably watch them someday, but it makes it easier if I have an excuse.

Well, I’m going to dive right in and say that I have no idea why Hamlet won best picture. It’s a fine movie, albeit kind of boring, but I would say that Johnny Belinda, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and The Snake Pit are all much better movies. Plus, they’re not boring. Maybe everyone thought that if they didn’t vote for a classic Shakespeare directed by Sir Laurence Olivier, a classic Shakespearean, it meant that they were all boorish hicks who didn’t know great art when they saw it. I don’t know. Whatever reasons the Academy members had to vote for Hamlet that year, they were wrong; it was not the best picture of 1948.

Having said that, I feel like I should say that Hamlet isn’t a bad movie. It has its high points; Laurence Olivier is definitely a high point. He is truly fantastic as Hamlet (except for the blond hair, which looks too unnatural) and completely deserved his best actor Oscar. I think it would have been a hard year to choose acting awards, though. There were many good performances across all the movies.

I do find the lack of nominations for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre interesting. It had many good elements, like cinematography, art direction, and music, that weren’t even nominated. Humphrey Bogart should also have been nominated for best actor. I feel like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre got snubbed in lots of categories. Admittedly, I haven’t seen all of the movies that were nominated for all the awards, but I find it hard to believe that there were that many movies that were that much better than The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in so many categories. But I am glad that John Huston won best director; he deserved it.

John Huston must have been crazy-busy for a couple of years leading up to 1948. He not only wrote, directed, and appeared in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, but also wrote and directed Key Largo. I’m not sure how he did that, but it was an impressive feat. I can barely find time to work one job, watch a few movies a week, and keep my house in a semi-clean condition. There’s no way I could write and direct one classic movie, let alone two. He had serious talent.

1948 was an interesting year for nominees because two of the movies dealt with serious contemporary issues: mental illness and rape. Those are still serious issues, and movies about those topics are still rare. I was really impressed that the people working on The Snake Pit and Johnny Belinda were brave enough to tackle those topics.

How do I rank the nominees?

5.The Red Shoes
4.Hamlet
3.The Snake Pit
1.Johnny Belinda and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre(tie)

Why the tie? Both movies are so good in their different ways that I couldn’t put one above the other. Fun fact: They tied for best motion picture-drama in the Golden Globes that year. I think the Globes did a better job picking than the Academy that year.

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