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The 22nd Academy Awards in 1950

Updated on December 3, 2013
tillsontitan profile image

Mary has been a movie fan since she was a little girl. She watched movies every night of the week on Million Dollar Theater..

Paul Douglas

From a trailer for "A Letter to Three Wives"
From a trailer for "A Letter to Three Wives" | Source

Academy Awards Background Information

As in all years past, the Academy Awards of 1950 were for the films released the year before, in this case 1949. What made the 22nd Academy Awards unique was this was the last year that all five categories were in black and white. This Awards Ceremony was held at the RKO Pantage Theatre, located at Hollywood and Vine, in March of 1950. The Academy Awards Ceremonies were held at the Pantage from 1949 through 1959.

It might be interesting to note that movies up to this point were still running under two hours. Some were only one hour and thirty minutes long.

Paul Douglas, a well known actor, was host to the 1950 Awards. The Awards were narrated by Eve Arden, Ronald Reagan, and Walter Winchell. Now that's an impressive line up!

A special award was given by Ginger Rogers to her long time dance partner, Fred Astaire “…for his unique artistry and his contributions to the technique of musical pictures.” I don't think anyone can argue with that. Astaire's dancing was graceful yet full of life and he made it look so easy.

Louisiana Governor Huey Long


Best Motion Picture - All The King's Men

This is the story of Willie Stark. After teaching himself law, Willie Stark decides to go into politics. His innocence and fight for the people seems to disappear as he becomes a corrupt politician. There are several relationships highlighted in this story including Stark's relationship with his journalist friend, who loses faith in Stark along the way, Stark's relationship with his journalist's friend's girlfriend, Stark's relationship with his secretary, and others.

Even as Stark becomes corrupt, his journalist friend, Jack Burden sticks by him. Stark's secretary, Anne, is in love with him and wants Stark to leave his wife but Stark is too busy having quick affairs with other women. Oh, there's more, Stark's son is injured in an automobile accident and is saved by his assistant's brother, a surgeon, and Stark's altercation with Judge Stanton (Anne's uncle). When Stark tries to make the Judge look bad, the Judge commits suicide.

Definitely not a sunny day picture but it also won Best Actor for Broderick Crawford and Best Supporting Actress for Mercedes McCambridge. It had four other nominations. Lastly, it was based on the life of deceased Louisiana Governor Huey Long. Certainly a film to check out for it's acting quality.

Willie Stark's Speech

Linda Darnell


A Letter to Three Wives

Best Screenplay and Best Director Awards went to this movie about a letter sent to three wives from a woman, Addie Ross, telling them she has run off with one of their husbands, but not telling them which one. Any movie fan knows what comes next, flashbacks looking at all three marriages.

The first wife, Debbie, played by Jeanne Crain, was a Navy WAVE when she met her socialite husband. She's always been insecure in his social circle. Especially so when she finds out everyone thought Brad, her husband, would marry Addie, beautiful and sophisticated, but also the town flirt.

Next is Rita, played by Ann Southern, who writes for radio soap operas. Her husband is a schoolteacher and has trouble dealing with her making more money than he does. Last is Lora Mae Hollingsway, played by Linda Darnell. Lora Mae grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and married her older employer, Porter. Theirs is a rocky start as Porter says he doesn't want to get married but he loves her and finally proposes.

Though Addie shows up throughout the movie taunting and making each bride nervous and insecure, she is only shown once in the film, from behind. While there is some humor in this movie it is certainly not a comedy but more of a romantic drama. It is a movie that makes three women look at their lives and marriages, honestly. In it's way it is a gripping movie leading you on so that you want to know more and want to know which husband left with Addie.

Twelve O'Clock High

1949 Nominees That Didn't Win

  • Sands of Iwo Jima
  • Come to the Stable
  • Jolson Sings Again
  • The Stratton Story
  • White Heat
  • It Happens Every Spring
  • On the Town
  • Madame Bovary
  • Little Women
  • The Barkleys of Broadway
  • Tulsa

Other 1949 Award Winners

The Heiress - This film won a Best Actress Award for Olivia de Haviland. A sad and twisted love story. A plain, shy, rich woman, falls in love with a handsome young man and so begins the twists in this plot. Catherine is madly in love with Morris, played by Montgomery Clift, and her unhinged father, played by Ralph Richardson, tries to convince her that Morris is a fortune hunter. Catherine will not believe him. Her father says he will disinherit her if she marries Morris. Just before they plan to elope she tells Morris that her father is going to disinherit her but she doesn't care.

The night of their elopement comes but Morris does not. As years pass her father dies leaving her all his money. Morris returns eyeing the money again. I will leave the film to you without ruining the ending.

Twelve O'Clock High - This movie won Best Supporting Actor for Dean Jagger. Another flashback film taking us back to 1942 and a fictional RAF base. Daylight bombing raids over Germany, an incompetent Commander, a new General, four missions in four days, I think you get the picture. The ravages of War on men in combat and how a new General realizes the men and their lives are important to him.

She Wore A Yellow Ribbon - This movie won Best Cinematography. A war movie of a different type, the U.S. Cavalry and the Cheyenne and Arapaho together with the possibility of a new Indian War after Custer's Last Stand. Starring John Wayne and Victor McLaglen. Need I say more? Definitely one to see if you are a John Wayne fan as it was one of his favorite roles.

Mighty Joe Young - This movie won Best Visual Effects. I have to admit when I was a kid this was one of my favorite movies. Who couldn't love an over-sized gorilla that was a girl's pet? Of course there's a love story and all the problems faced when Joe is brought back to America away from his home in Africa. His rampage when tormented but its followed by him saving an orphaned girl from a burning building.

There are lots of films here to keep you watching, from the winners, to the nominees to the losers. Losers of Academy Awards perhaps but not losers for movie goers.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

"Bringing you movies that are part of your memories."


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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I am so glad you like this series and I can introduce you to some new actors and actresses from the past Vinaya. Thank you for reading.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal


      I take interest in classic films, some of my best films become to this age. However, I have never heard about the actors and movies you have described here. Thanks for sharing your expertise.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thanks Carol, they are so much fun to research and write. To me, Linda Darnell is the epitome of a glamour girl in that photo.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Brings back some memories.. Love these academy awards by the year. Keep em coming..Linda Darnell really looks gorgeous.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I know Christy, I thought it was later too. Thanks for the vote.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I know Christy, I thought it was later too. Thanks for the vote.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I know Christy, I thought it was later too. Thanks for the vote.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I know Christy, I thought it was later too. Thanks for the vote.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I know Christy, I thought it was later too. Thanks for the vote.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Great information here! I did not know Mighty Joe Young originally was released that year. Vote up!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thanks aviannovice. I think we'll be watching these movies for a long time yet as they have helped set a standard.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I have seen a few of these movies, and they were excellent, which is why they are still viewed to this day. Your review is wonderful and right to the point.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      WND, okay so I'm three years older than you ;0 I do love the old movies though and you're right those actors and actress rode the wave of success for a long time.

      So glad you're enjoying my series Bill. I've been writing a few different hubs in between because I don't want to get monotonous. Thanks so much for the votes and share, it means a lot.

      drbj glad you too are finding this series enjoyable. It is so nice to be recognized by such a great writer.

      ytsenoh, I too went to the movies on Saturday afternoons and watched what was called "Million Dollar Theater" where they showcased so many of these movies.

      I definitely think the industry has lost something Martin. Thanks for stopping by!

      DDE, so glad you are learning from my hubs.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      An excellent layout here on the awards of The 22nd Academy Awards in 1950, I am glad to have learned something new from the past.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Don't you think the industry has lost something? Thank you for this.

    • ytsenoh profile image


      6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      "A Letter to Three Wives" was a really good movie. I love this hub because of these movies. You did such a good job memorializing them! I love movies and character building in them. Really nice job. Thumbs up. When I was in high school, every Saturday morning, there was an old movie from the 40s or 50s on. I loved that!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      All the King's Men and The Heiress were two great pictures that year. The story lines were exceptional and the actors outstanding. Thanks for this lovely deja vu, Mary - very enjoyable.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Mary. I've seen a few of these. I love the old war movies and Twelve O'Clock High and the Sands of Iwo Jima are two of my favorites. I really enjoy this series and I'm looking forward to the years to come. Great job Mary, voted up, shared, etc....

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      6 years ago from Alabama

      Letter to Three Wives, too bad it wasn't a comedy. I don't recall seeing it, but sounds like it would be a great comic.

      1950 is the year I was born. All these actors and actresses that I remember were going strong and I was just a baby!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Good point one has the patience to wait for a letter anymore. This was the last year that black and whites were nominated in all five categories. Thanks for reading and commenting, its always so good to see you here.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 

      6 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      A Letter to Three Wives was brazen. Had that been me reading it as a wife, I don't know what I would've felt. I wonder how a concept like that would translate today especially since people stopped writing letters for the most part.

      Interesting note about this being the last black and white ceremony while I'm sure the last black and white movie wasn't for several years after that.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      They were and still are great movies Peg, I think that's what draws us to them. Anything with John Wayne is good, Academy Awards or not. Thanks for stopping by, I love seeing you here.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      We'd live the life we choose, We'd fight and never lose, Those were the easy to get caught up in that Bill. I had you by a year, a was three! I'll keep going as long as you keep reading ;)

      xstatic, thanks for reading this series. I love it when you and others share your memories of these movies.

      Paul Douglas was a good actor Jaye, he was in "A Letter to Three Wives" and, as you know so many others. Thanks for the votes!

      Ah, now you're teasing me Joe since I don't know when your birthday year is. Yes, "A Letter to Three Wives" must've been fun to write. Starting the whole thing with just a short letter. Aloha my friend.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Mary, I was still a twinkle in my father's eye when these movies came out, but as a little boy, I remember how he would comment on these famous black & white's whenever one would show up in TV land. Of the ones you've reported on, the most intriguing one to me is, "A Letter to Three Wives." From a writer's perspective, this one must've been both challenging and rewarding to its author/screenwriter. Have a good evening, Mary, and I'm looking forward to my birthday year coming up in your very special niche! Aloha!


    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Hi, Till...I slammed on brakes when I saw the photo of Paul Douglas, host of the Academy Awards that year. He was one of my favorite actors of that era.

      I saw several of the films listed, and think "All the King's Men" deserved the Best Motion Picture award. Since I never watched "The Heiress", I'll have to search for it on DVD and make up for that oversight.

      Thanks for reminding us that many classic films are certainly worth watching again.

      Voted Up++


    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      6 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Every year has great movies and I went to a lot as a kid. Sands of Iwo Jima I saw at least twice, John Wayne (of course) and a young aspiring actor named John Agar, who actually served in the Army, and who married Shirley Temple (for a while). She Wore a Yellow Ribbon was a great one for me too, John Wayne again.

      I loved Twelve O'clock High too. Letter to Three Wives was really interesting too.

      Thanks for continuing this great series!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I've seen about half of these, but I'm with you on Mighty Joe Young. :) Also loved Twelve O'Clock High. Oh, those were the years my friend, we thought they'd never end, we'd sing and dance....oops, I was only two years old. Not much dancing then. :)

      Once again, I love this series. I'm looking forward to the 60's. :)

      Good job, Mary!


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