The 15th Academy Awards in 1943
1943 Oscar Statuette
Academy Awards - History
Every year the Motion Picture Academy awards various artists and movies with an Oscar statuette. Over the years the award has come to be referred to simply as "the Oscar" or "an Oscar".
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, began in 1927. The Academy is made up of actors, producers, directors and a variety of other film craftsmen. In 1928, it commissioned a statuette to be designed by George Stanley. The Award was originally called Academy Award of Merit. Apparently no one knows for sure how the name "Oscar" came to be but there are numerous speculations. Some believe it was due to a certain Academy librarian remarking that the statuette looked like her Uncle Oscar!
Today winning an Oscar means money...more money for the actors, producers, etc. and certainly more money at the box office for any film that wins The Best Motion Picture Award.
Did you know Oscar winners have to sign a contract? The contract states they cannot sell or dispose of the statuette without first offering it back to the Academy for the sum of $1.00?
Hollywood and the War
In January 1943 900 actors had withdrawn to join the service; the Screen Writers Guild reported 168 withdrawals, and the Directors Guild 104. Names of some of those who joined the service:
- Clark Gable,
- James Stewart,
- Henry Fonda,
- Alan Ladd,
- Robert Taylor,
Also directors such as John Ford, Frank Capra, William Wyler, George Stevens, and John Huston.
1943 Hollywood Supports Soldiers
1943 at the Movies
What a glorious year was 1943 at the movies. Actors and actresses who have become classics over the years including Joan Crawford, Humphrey Bogart, John Garflied, Laurel and Hardy, Bela Lugosi, Lucille Ball, Pat O'Brien, Lon Chaney, Jr., Clark Gable, Betty Grable, the East Side Kids, are but a few of those we saw in 1943.
Tarzan was in the movies played by Johnny Weismuller. "Back From the Front" with the Three Stooges, "Captive Wildwoman" with John Carradine, "A Guy Named Joe" with Spencer Tracy, "Lassie Come Home" with Roddy McDowall, "Madame Curie" with Greer Garson, so many great and memorable stars and movies.
An all black musical called "Cabin in the Sky" was directed by Vincent Minnelli. The movie was about the competition between God's General and Lucifer Jr. They were competing for the soul of a deceased gambling man. "The Ox-Bow Incident" starring Henry Fonda showed the tyranny and ruthlessness of mob rule when a mob lynched two innocent men. "The Song of Bernadette" starring Jennifer Jones. A religious film about a young girl's persecution for believing in her visions of the Virgin Mary. None of these are Oscar winners. So let's take a look at the 1943 Academy Awards.
Photo from Mrs. Miniver
The Fifteenth Academy Awards
On March 4th in 1943 the Academy Awards were held at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles.
The best picture was Mrs. Miniver which also won Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography in a Black and White Film. Whew! It was nominated for a total of twelve awards and won half, not bad.
If you've seen the film you might wonder why it didn't win all twelve but when you see some of the contenders you'll understand. The star of this film, Greer Garson, is not only a beautiful woman but always a delight to watch. She is just absolutely lovely. Her co-star, Walter Pidgeon is a gentleman and a delight to watch as well.
This is the story of an English family and how they had to deal with the beginning of WWII and how they handled the Blitz with grace literally under fire. There's action, comedy and with the war as a backdrop the town's annual flower show. Reelclassics.com says of this movie;
MRS. MINIVER tackles the issue of social class head-on by differentiating between the various classes of characters (through occupation, dress and manner of speech) while at the same time demonstrating the compassion and sympathy of purpose that exists between them despite their differences...the romance that develops between Mrs. Miniver's grown son Vin (Richard Ney) and Carol Beldon serves to unite the middle class with the landed aristocracy....Greer Garson came to epitomize the strength of women on the home front during World War II, fighting "the people's war" on their own turf to protect their way of life."
I would really recommend seeing this one for yourself. It may appear a bit shmaltzie at times for some but the strength of Mrs. Miniver and her town shine through. Her dealing with the Nazi soldier, how she handles herself with her children in a bomb shelter, and the end of the movie is a must see. I will not divulge it here but rather leave it for you to watch.
Songs from Yankee Doodle Dandy
- I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy
- Over There
- Give My Regard to Broadway
- She's a Grand Old Flag
- Give My Regards to Broadway
- You're a Grand Old Flag
Yankee Doodle Dandy
James Cagney won The Best Actor Award for his leading role in this upbeat movie! The film also won Best Musical Score, and Best Sound Recording. I'm sure by now you've guessed, if you didn't already know, this is a musical.
The story of the life of songwriter, performer, and composer George M. Cohan; his career, family and success. His parents, himself, and then his children were all Vaudeville performers, travelling around the country with their acts.
No one would have imagined bad boy James Cagney in this part but he was beyond compare, the best fit for the part! A song and dance man early in his career he was so believable as Cohan I used to think he was Cohan! Cagney did his dances as Cohan would have, a little stiffer than Cagney's style but a perfect imitation. The film is not exactly a factual recounting of Mr. Cohan's life but it made for good theater. I won't embarrass myself and tell you how many times I've seen this one. Lots of familiar faces, of the time, and the songs...I'm sure you know them and if you don't know the words, you certainly hum along. Definitely a film worth watching.
Yankee Doodle Dandy
Other Academy Award Winners in 1943
Best Supporting Actor
Michael Kanin and Ring Lardner, Jr.
Best Original Screenplay
Woman of the Year
Battle of Midway
Best Animated Short Film
Der Fuehrer's Face
Best Original Song (White Christmas)
Best Film Editing
The Pride of the Yankees
Additional Facts About the 1943 Academy Awards
Bob Hope was the host of the 1943 Academy Awards Ceremony. He actually hosted nineteen Academy Award Ceremonies in his lifetime.
Of course we all know the year of the Oscars is actually the year AFTER a film was showed in the theaters. Mrs. Miniver was in theaters in 1942, and won the 1943 Awards.
Radio covered the event for the very first time in forty three. It was even broadcast to American GIs in war zones. The ceremony was more of a dinner party then.
Just for your information, Greer Garson gave the longest acceptance speech up to that time, five and a half minutes!
Each year from the first until now, innovations have been added. Color broadcasts, the envelope containing the results, movie clips, and on and on. People all around the world are now watching the Academy Awards and will for a long time to come.
I hope you've enjoyed this written montage about the 1943 Academy Awards.
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