A Century of FilmScreen Shot 2021-01-23 at 2.28.05 PM

Film History


Filmmaking had supposedly peaked in 1939 just as the war arrived to greatly limit (outside of America, film production was massively down) and influence it (in America, War films took the forefront).  After the war concluded, came the two lawsuits that changed the way of films in America.  First came de Havilland vs. Warner Bros. Pictures which altered the notion of what a studio could put in a contract.  Second came United States vs. Paramount Pictures which meant that production studios would have to sell off their theater chains.  The first hastened the end of the way films were made in the Studio Era while the second altered how they were distributed and brought an to the end to the concept of the “majors” as they had been known. (more…)

A couple of very deserving Oscar winners from 1948 - a happy father and son.

A couple of very deserving Oscar winners from 1948 – a happy father and son.


This is a companion piece to three different series.  The first is The History of the Academy Awards, in which I covered each category in individual posts.  This was originally done in 2009 and additions were included in 2010.  You can find links to all of these pieces in each individual category.  I have grouped all of the categories together for the same reason that I did so originally – because most pieces on the Oscars don’t approach the awards through the categories, but through the years.  This specific piece is designed to take a closer look at the decade (with a couple of extra years, since there was no point in doing a separate piece on the first two years of the Oscars) and how I think the Academy did in those years.

The second series is my Year in Film series.  That is mentioned here because in those pieces I included paragraphs about the Oscars as a whole for each year and included a considerable amount of trivia.  Since I had based my Year in Film series and eligibility as such on the Academy calendar, it all seemed very relevant.  Also, starting in 1930-31, I started including various prizes (Worst Oscar, Worst Nomination, Worst Omission, etc) and I didn’t want to repeat myself, so following the links will bring you there.  Those links are at the end of this piece, where I do a brief summation of each year and how the Academy did.

The third series is my History of the Academy Awards: Best Picture series, where I reviewed every film ever nominated for Best Picture (except The Patriot, which is lost).  Those links are also down below, grouped by year. (more…)

My mom always mentions that Paul Henreid is in Now Voyager.  I then always point out that he's also in Casablanca.  Oh yeah, so are Bogie, Bergman and Rains.  A hell of a cast.

My mom always mentions that Paul Henreid is in Now Voyager. I then always point out that he’s also in Casablanca. Oh yeah, so are Bogie, Bergman and Rains.  And Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet. A hell of a cast.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category.  Films in blue were nominated. For the first time in a long time there are no changes to Academy categories.  But, this is the first year of the Golden Globes – there were no nominees and no distinction between Drama and Comedy, but those films in red in the Globe section won the Globes.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Casablanca
  2. The Ox-Bow Incident
  3. In Which We Serve
  4. Shadow of a Doubt
  5. For Whom the Bell Tolls

Analysis:  Unlike the last two years, there are actually 6 **** films, which is unfortunate.  I rank The More the Merrier at the same level as Bell, but one of them had to come in 6th.  Then there’s a five point drop to #7 (Watch on the Rhine) and 4 points each for the next two (This Land is Mine, Five Graves to Cairo).  That’s a pretty hefty drop-off in three spots.  Six of those nine films deal with the war; the other three are Ox-Bow, Shadow of a Doubt and Bell (which deals with the Spanish Civil War). (more…)

the dancing mushrooms in Fantasia - the best animated film of the 1940's

Well, before I go into 1949, I’ll cover the decade as a whole.  Bear in mind the decade awards cover films by their original release date, so you might find films that haven’t shown up in individual years yet.

1940  –  1949

Total Films I’ve Seen:  617

Films That Make the Top 5 in a Category:  42

Best Film Not to Make the Top 5 in any Category:  The Best Years of Our Lives

Film of the Decade:  Children of Paradise

Worst Film of the Decade:  King of the Zombies

Worst Best Picture Nominee of the Decade:  All This and Heaven Too

Worst Film of the Decade Made by a Top 100 Director:  Under Capricorn (more…)

the usual suspects: Paul Henreid, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains and Humphrey Bogart

The 16th Academy Awards, for the film year 1943.  The nominations were announced on February 6, 1944 and the awards were held on March 2, 1944.

Best Picture:  Casablanca

  • In Which We Serve
  • The Ox-Bow Incident
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • Heaven Can Wait
  • Watch on the Rhine
  • The More the Merrier
  • The Human Comedy
  • The Song of Bernadette
  • Madame Curie

Most Surprising Omission:  So Proudly We Hail

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Shadow of a Doubt

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #51


My Top 10:

The Academy sometimes gets it right. Casablanca is easily the best film of 1943.

  1. Casablanca
  2. Shadow of a Doubt
  3. In Which We Serve
  4. For Whom the Bell Tolls
  5. The Ox-Bow Incident
  6. This Land is Mine
  7. Five Graves to Cairo
  8. Heaven Can Wait
  9. Watch on the Rhine
  10. The More the Merrier (more…)