Friday, September 18, 2015

1950--The Year in Review

Midway into the 20th Century, it's an astonishing clean sweep for Billy Wilder's Sunset Blvd., with only Thelma Ritter's supporting performance in All About Eve interrupting it. But, in 1950, it was Joseph L. Manckiewicz's film that took all the awards--in fact, All About Eve set a record for the most Oscar nominations with 14 (a record that still stands, with Titanic siding up to it in 1996). But it's Wilder's film that remains the most loved and watched film of the year. It's both intensely dramatic and hilarious (intentionally so) in just the correct measures, and contains three creepy, nastily effective performances. Plus, Sunset Blvd. looks and sounds spectacular, with its superbly regal and yet strangely scuzzy cinematography, art direction and musical score propelling it into the stratosphere. It seems difficult now to understand All About Eve's besting of it, though Mankiewicz's screenplay for Eve contained an endless array of razor-sharp bon mots that clearly captivated the anti-stage Hollywood community (for them, at the time, Sunset Blvd. was seen as a mean joke played at their expense). The second best movie of the year, Joseph L. Lewis' Gun Crazy, wasn't nominated for a single thing, as it was a lowly B-picture. But, in the '60s, French critics raised its standing up as a deftly influential noir gifted with infinitely creative camerawork and acting. Equally influential were Kurosawa's Rashomon, Huston's The Asphalt Jungle, Bunuel's Los Olvidados and Anthony Mann's first western with Jimmy Stewart, Winchester '73 (though Stewart's Elwood P. Dowd in Harvey is a more popular performance). In the short films, Bugs Bunny and director Chuck Jones again took the top slot, though there were many equally worthy selections crafted at Warner Brothers that year. And, finally, literary hero Jean Genet contributed the year's most accomplished live action short. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold. 

PICTURE: SUNSET BLVD. (US, Billy Wilder) (2nd: Gun Crazy (US, Joseph H. Lewis), followed by: Rashomon (Japan, Akira Kurosawa); Winchester ’73 (US, Anthony Mann); The Asphalt Jungle (US, John Huston); In a Lonely Place (US, Nicholas Ray); All About Eve (US, Joseph L. Mankiewicz); La Ronde (France, Max Ophuls); Los Olvidados (Mexico, Luis Buñuel); Wagon Master (US, John Ford); Cinderella (US, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi); Night and the City (UK, Jules Dassin); Orphée (France, Jean Cocteau); Panic in the Streets (US, Elia Kazan); Breaking Point (US, Michael Curtiz); Where The Sidewalk Ends (US, Otto Preminger); The Furies (US, Anthony Mann); Harvey (US, Henry Koster); The Gunfighter (US, Henry King); Rio Grande (US, John Ford); D.O.A. (US, Rudolph Maté); Stromboli (Italy, Roberto Rossellini); Father of the Bride (US, Vincente Minnelli); Quicksand (US, Irving Pichel); Born Yesterday (US, George Cukor); Broken Arrow (US, Delmer Daves); Caged (US, John Cromwell); Stage Fright (US, Alfred Hitchcock); Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (US, Gordon Douglas); Born to Be Bad (US, Nicholas Ray); The Baron of Arizona (US, Samuel Fuller); No Man of Her Own (US, Mitchell Leisen); Annie Get Your Gun (US, George Sidney); Young Man With a Horn (US, Michael Curtiz))

ACTOR: William Holden, SUNSET BLVD. (2nd: Humphrey Bogart, In a Lonely Place, followed by: John Dall, Gun Crazy; James Stewart, Winchester ’73; James Stewart, Harvey; José Ferrer, Cyrano de Bergerac; Sterling Hayden, The Asphalt Jungle; Spencer Tracy, Father of the Bride; Clifton Webb, Cheaper by the Dozen; Ben Johnson, Wagon Master) 

ACTRESS: Gloria Swanson, SUNSET BLVD. (2nd: Peggy Cummins, Gun Crazy, followed by: Bette Davis, All About Eve; Judy Holliday, Born Yesterday; Anne Baxter, All About Eve; Eleanor Parker, Caged; Barbara Stanwyck, The Furies; Ingrid Bergman, Stromboli; Gloria Grahame, In a Lonely Place; Gertrude Lawrence, The Glass Menagerie) 

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Erich Von Stroheim, SUNSET BLVD. (2nd: George Sanders, All About Eve, followed by: Sam Jaffe, The Asphalt Jungle; Jack Palance, Panic in the Streets; Will Geer, Winchester '73; Walter Huston, The Furies; Masayuki Mori, Rashomon; Takashi Shimura, Rashomon; Arthur Kennedy, The Glass Menagerie; Zero Mostel, Panic in the Streets) 

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Thelma Ritter, ALL ABOUT EVE (2nd: Danielle Darrieux, La Ronde, followed by: Celeste Holm, All About Eve; Josephine Hull, Harvey; Hope Emerson, Caged; Jan Sterling, Caged; Joan Bennett, Father of the Bride; Nancy Olson, Sunset Blvd.
DIRECTOR: Billy Wilder, SUNSET BLVD. (2nd: Joseph H. Lewis, Gun Crazy, followed by: Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon; Anthony Mann, Winchester '73; Luis Bunuel, Los Olvidados; Joseph L. Mankiewicz, All About Eve; John Huston, The Asphalt Jungle; Nicholas Ray, In a Lonely Place; Max Ophuls, La Ronde; John Ford, Wagon Master)

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, and D.M. Marshman, Jr., SUNSET BLVD. (2nd: Robert L. Richards, Borden Chase, and Stuart N. Lake, Winchester '73, followed by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz, All About Eve; Luis Alcoriza and Luis Bunuel, Los Olvidados; Edna Anhalt, Edward Anhalt, Daniel Fuchs and Richard Murphy, Panic in the Streets)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Akira Kurosawa and Shinobu Hashimoto, RASHOMON (2nd: Ben Maddow and John Huston, The Asphalt Jungle, followed by: Edmund H. North and Andrew Solt, In a Lonely Place; Jacques Natanson and Max Ophuls, La Ronde; Dalton Trumbo and MacKinlay Kantor, Gun Crazy)

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: A SONG OF LOVE (Un Chant D'Amour) (France, Jean Genet) (2nd: Family Portrait (UK, Humphrey Jennings), followed by: Mirror of Holland (Netherlands, Bert Haanstra)

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: RABBIT OF SEVILLE (Chuck Jones; Bugs Bunny) (2nd: The Scarlet Pumpernickel (Chuck Jones; Daffy Duck); Gerald McBoing-Boing (Robert Cannon); What's Up Doc? (Robert McKimson; Bugs Bunny); Dog Gone South (Chuck Jones); 8 Ball Bunny (Chuck Jones; Bugs Bunny); A Fractured Leghorn (Robert McKimson; Foghorn Leghorn); The Hypo-condri-Cat (Chuck Jones)

BLACK-AND-WHITE CINEMATOGRAPHY: John Seitz, SUNSET BLVD. (2nd: Russell Harlan, Gun Crazy, followed by: Kazuo Miyagawa, Rashomon; Harold Rosson, The Asphalt Jungle; Victor Milner, The Furies)

COLOR CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ernest Palmer, BROKEN ARROW (2nd: Charles Rosher, Annie Get Your Gun, followed by: Robert Surtees, King Solomon's Mines)

BLACK-AND-WHITE ART DIRECTION: SUNSET BLVD., All About Eve, La Ronde, Stage Fright, The Asphalt Jungle

 COLOR ART DIRECTION: DESTINATION MOON, Annie Get Your Gun, Cheaper by the Dozen

BLACK-AND-WHITE COSTUME DESIGN: ALL ABOUT EVE, Sunset Blvd., La Ronde, Rashomon, The Furies

COLOR COSTUME DESIGN: ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Toast of New Orleans

FILM EDITING: SUNSET BLVD., Winchester '73, The Asphalt Jungle, Gun Crazy, Panic in the Streets

SOUND: ALL ABOUT EVE, Winchester '73, Wagon Master, Sunset Blvd., Cinderella

ORIGINAL SCORE: Franz Waxman, SUNSET BLVD. (2nd: Miklós Rózsa, The Asphalt Jungle, followed by: Franz Waxman, The Furies; Fumio Hayasaka, Rashomon; Alfred Newman, All About Eve; Oscar Straus, La Ronde) 

ADAPTED OR MUSICAL SCORE: Oliver Wallace and Paul J. Smith, CINDERELLA (2nd: Adolph Deutsch and Roger Edens, Annie Get Your Gun, followed by: Andre Previn, Three Little Words)

ORIGINAL SONG: "Mona Lisa" from CAPTAIN CAREY, USA (Music and lyrics by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston) (2nd: "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" from Cinderella (Music and lyrics by Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston); "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" from Cinderella (Music and lyrics by Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston); "Mule Train" from Singing Guns (Music and lyrics by Fred Glickman, Hy Heath, and Johnny Lange); "Cinderella" from Cinderella (Music and lyrics by Mack David, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston))


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