The 16th Academy Awards Ceremony in 1944

Elizabeth Taylor

Starred in MGM's "Lassie Come Home" with Roddy McDowall.  Nominated for an Academy Award, Best Cinematography, Color
Starred in MGM's "Lassie Come Home" with Roddy McDowall. Nominated for an Academy Award, Best Cinematography, Color | Source

Academy Awards

On March 15, 1944 the Academy Awards Ceremony went public and was held for the first time at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, Calif. Home to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman's is a theater that has hosted the opening of many Hollywood films beginning with deMille's original silent, "King of Kings" in 1927. Although the Awards are now held next door at the Dolby Theater many people still think of Grauman's as the home of the Academy Awards Ceremonies. For those of you interested in the occult, it is said that Grauman's is haunted. One of the ghosts is believed to be a former employee who hanged himself inside the theater. While you won't be able to attend the Academy Awards, you can visit Grauman's to see a movie or just to tour the theater.

Anyone in uniform was given a free ticket to this ceremony with some of them even given seats on the stage! A show of solidarity was part of the War effort. You can see soldiers in the background of the video on the right. Oscar statuettes were made from plaster rather than metal from 1943 to 1945. Winners were allowed to exchange them after the war.

This was the first year Best Supporting Actors and Actresses received Oscar statuettes instead of plaques.

And now ladies and gentlemen, on to the 16th Academy Awards of 1944.

A markerGrauman's Chinese Theater, 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, California -
6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028, USA
[get directions]

Built by Sid Grauman and opened in 1927. Also home to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Casablanca

Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman)
Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) | Source
Laszlo, Ilsa, the Police Captain, and Rick
Laszlo, Ilsa, the Police Captain, and Rick | Source

Casablanca

A dramatic film everyone is familiar with whether they've seen it or not. A love story but also a patriotic film. Set in the early days of WWII in one of the few places still unoccupied, Africa. Not the setting you'd expect to find an ex-lover but that is what happens to Rick Blaine, played superbly by Humphrey Bogart. The cast of this movie is like name dropping in the forties; Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Syndney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and S.K. Sakall.

Our hero, Rick Blaine, is an exiled American who just happens to own the hottest nightspot in town. Behind this plot are two valuable transport letters, these letter allow the bearer to travel anywhere without question by the Germans. These letters have 'accidentally' come into Rick's hands. But of course the plot thickens. The love of Rick's life, who walked out on him, shows up with her husband, Laszlo, Czech Resistance leader who has escaped from a concentration camp. Yup, the letters are for Laszlo and were sent to Rick for safekeeping though he didn't know it. But, here's Ilsa, the love of his life, with her husband. Naturally she winds up explaining why she walked out on him without telling him what was going on. She had thought her husband dead but when she found out he was alive she had to leave with him, with no real explanation to Rick.

The flame rekindles between Rick and Ilsa but there is cross and double cross in this movie. Rick is a patriot at heart and wants to help the war effort but what about the woman he loves? If you haven't seen this classic among classics you really should because that's all I'm going to tell you.

I will add a few interesting facts. For instance, Paul Henreid (Laszlo) did not like Humphrey Bogart and thought he was a "mediocre" actor. Greenstreet, Lorre and Bogart had starred together in "The Maltese Falcon". There were many European exiles and refugees playing minor roles in this film. Bogart stood on blocks in his scenes with Bergman because she was two inches taller than him. The movie was fairly well received when released but has gained in popularity over the years.

Casablanca won Outstanding Motion Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Sceenplay. So, "Here's looking at you kid" and hoping you'll "Play it again" so you can find out why "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine", and why this great film is worth watching.

Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Jones as Bernadette
Jennifer Jones as Bernadette | Source

Bernadette Soubirous

The real Bernadette.
The real Bernadette. | Source

The Song of Bernadette

"The Song of Bernadette" was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and won four, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Black and White, Best Music Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture, and Best Actress for Jennifer Jones for her portrayal as Bernadette. Though this is a religious film you don't have to be religious to appreciate it. The film opens with the lines:

"For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible".

This is the story of St. Bernadette Soubirous and her apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes in 1858. This film is a re-telling of the events that occurred in Lourdes when a young 14 year old girl is visited by a beautiful lady that no one else can see. People begin to follow Bernadette to her meetings with "the Lady" and begin to laugh when Bernadette bends down into the dirt and starts to wash herself. They do not know the Lady has told her to do so. When water begins to spring from the ground, the laughing stops. The Lady identifies herself as "The Immaculate Conception".

The Civil Authorities want to declare Bernadette insane and the Church treats her like a criminal. Her local pastor, Abbé Peyramale, at first skeptical becomes her ally and supporter. The grotto where the Lady appears to Bernadette is closed by the authorities, but other miracles occur and it is reopened.

Bernadette enters a convent and dies at a very young age. The film follows the novel of Franz Werfel pretty closely with of course some liberties taken for the sake of the film. In real life, the Church was not as cruel to Bernadette.

After her death, Bernadette's body was exhumed three times during the Cannonization process and each time her body was perfectly preserved.

As always, I have left out many details to let you can see the film for yourself and make your own decisions about it.

Other Academy Award Winners in 1944

Recipient
Award
Movie
Paul Lucas
Best Actor
Watch on the Rhine
Charles Coburn
Best Supporting Actor
The More the Merrier
Katina Paxinou
Best Supporting Actress
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Norman Krasna
Best Original Screenplay
Princess O'Rourke
William Saroyan
Best Story
The Human Comedy
Ray Heindorf
Best Musical Score
This is the Army
Warren & Gordon "You'll Never Know"
Best Original Song
Hello, Frisco, Hello
Glitzen & Goodman
Best Art Direction
Phantom of the Opera
Mohr & Green
Best Cinematography, Color
Phantom of the Opera
George Amy
Best Film Editing
Air Force
Sersen & Heman
Best Visual Effects
Crash Dive

The Three Stooges - Back From the Front

More 1943

Hollywood was doing its part during wartime. Patriotic themed films, comedy, anything to help the war effort and keep the world entertained. "The Yankee Doodle Mouse" starring none other than the animated Tom and Jerry won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. A cartoon that had Tom and Jerry chasing each other warfare style with jeeps and bombers, all signs of a society dealing with war.

The Three Stooges made "Back From the Front" and even Daffy Duck got into the act with "Daffy - The Commando".

No year would be complete without a Bela Lugosi film and this year had "Ape Man" and "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman".

Other great movies that the Academy didn't recognize but the public did included "For Whom the Bell Tolls" and "A Guy Named Joe". Classics like "Jane Eyre", "Madame Curie", "Lassie Come Home", "My Friend Flicka" and who could forget "Stormy Weather"?

This was the year the famous Betty Grable pin-up was released by 20th Century Fox. I don't think a pin-up since has gotten the attention and devotion this one did.

The movie "The Outlaw" starring Jane Russell and produced by Howard Hughes was finally released. It was considered too "sexy" in 1941 and its release was held off. Still too sexy though in 1943 and it was shelved until 1946 when it was re-released.

Believe it or not, Batman had his own serial adventure shown in theaters. Each week a part of the series was shown leaving the audience hanging so they'd come back for more next week! Hollywood's "cliff hangers".

Obviously, I could go on and on but since this is a piece about the 1944 Academy Awards I think I've done my job here. I hope you've enjoyed it and will leave a comment.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

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Comments 21 comments

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

I still love Casa Blanca and when I see Elizabeth Taylor..Was she gorgeous or what? Love these academy awards ...This is something fun to read when I get up early. Voting up and pinning. Having lived in LA I worked on Hollywood BLvd and was always siting movie stars.


AudraLeigh 3 years ago

Hi Mary! I had no idea the Oscr statues were made of plaster..who knew? Great little piece of info for fans like me!

I LOVE movies, but need to catch up on some classics I have not seen...wow! Sadly, I have never seen 'Casablanca'! I am serious! Also, I an intrigued by 'The Song of Bernadette' is all about. I need to see where I can rent these or buy them at really good prices...had luck at Walmart and their $5 bin and amazon.

I like your enthusiasm and some history you gave us here...GREAT job!!!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Gee thanks Carol. These hubs must fit with your morning coffee! Elizabeth Taylor was certainly a stunner. Without all that extra makeup, a true beauty. I bet it was fun living in LA!

Audra we've got to get you up to snuff....never seen Casablanca? I can't even imagine ;) Hope you find some good movies to watch. Thanks so much for reading and glad you enjoyed!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Another fantastic list and information. I saw about half of these movies listed...the wary propaganda machine was in high gear at that time, and I remember many of the cartoons made at that time had a war theme to them.

Anyway, a great look back. Nice job Mary!


PaisleeGal profile image

PaisleeGal 3 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Hello Mary... another good hub about the Oscars!! Have really been enjoying these trips to the Oscars! Keep up the good work.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Propaganda in movies would be a whole other hub Bill! Glad you enjoyed...when I think I want to stop I can't help myself and jump into another one.

PaisleeGal, I am so happy that you've been following this series. Even happier that you're enjoying it!


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

wonder if whoever decides would think Jane Russell is too "sexy" now! Always enjoy these.


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 3 years ago from Mississauga, ON

Another great hub from down the memory lane

Casablanca is a movie that I would love to see, but I always avoid it because it brings good memories of my father back. He was a fan of movies of 40s, 50s and 60s. My siblings and I watched many movies of that era with him. He used to explain what was happening as a running commentary. Probably he had seen those movies once before.

Many thanks for reminding I got to start seeing those movies again.


TheKatsMeow profile image

TheKatsMeow 3 years ago from Canada

Casablanca is one of my favorite movies, I really enjoyed reading about it here! I am enjoying this academy award themed Hub experience, kudos to you for coming up with it! What a great idea and there is lots of material :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

WND, kids today would laugh if they saw it and knew about the "too sexy" thing!

Suhail glad I could remind you about your Dad and happy experiences with him.

Thanks KatsMeow. I've been having a ball writing them.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Another great look back Mary. Certainly Casablanca is one of the most memorable famous movies of all-time. Never realized that they made the Oscars out of plaster, what a great trivia question. Guess the war effort left no stones unturned. Great job. Voting up, sharing, tweeting, etc...


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Casablanca was and is one of the greatest films produced by Hollywood. A bit disconcerting though, Mary, to learn that Ingrid was 2 inches taller than Bogie and that he stood on blocks during scenes with her. Kind of takes all the romance out of it, doncha think? But I loved it and thank you for the deja vu memories.

'For Whom the Bell Tolls' was also a memorable film.


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

I was taken back to the Grand theater where these movies were still attracting an audience into the 60's. Thank you


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Interesting so much has changed since, thanks for sharing this information


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Lots of little things we didn't know Bill! Your votes and shares are so appreciated.

Drbj , what we don't know won't hurt us :). Probably lots more women taller than men actors.

The good old days never die matter.

Oh things have surely changed DDE!


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

A great insight to the Academy Awards Ceremony. Thank you for sharing. Voted up.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I am glad to share Vellur, but even more glad that you enjoyed.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

Mary,

I'm learning so many things for your movie hubs. Thank you very much.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

So happy to take you on this joy ride Vinaya.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 15 months ago from The Beautiful South

This was fun; will have to come back and look over some others soon! Just wanted to congratulate you on the new Hubbie!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 15 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Jackie, Mother Goose is thrilled with her award ;) It is so nice that so many people have taken the time to offer congrats.

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