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Best Picture 1954

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  • Tariq Khan
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    Oct 9th, 2011
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    #165857


    Let’s take
    a look back at the Best Picture race of 1954.


     


    “The
    Caine Mutiny”


    “The
    Country Girl”


    “On
    the Waterfront” (winner)


    “Seven
    Brides for Seven Brothers”


    “Three
    Coins in the Fountain”


     


    “On
    the Waterfront” is generally regarded as a masterpiece, and “The
    Caine Mutiny” and “The Country Girl” are both respectable
    choices.


     


    However,
    I’m a bit puzzled as to how “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and
    “Three Coins in the Fountain” made it into the category, while the
    classics “The High and the Mighty,” “Rear Window” and
    “Sabrina” were all left out. The latter three films all received Best
    Director nominations, whereas “Seven Brides” and “Three
    Coins” did not.


     


    I know that
    it’s impossible to objectively judge the race 60 years later. It may be that
    “Seven Brides” and “Three Coins” just don’t hold up
    nearly as well as some of the other films.


     


    In any
    case, does anyone have any thoughts they would care to share?


    Reply
    ETPhoneHome
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    #165859

    On the Waterfront was probably just a totally runaway winner in this category. I haven’t seen Country Girl, but it is better than the other three by a wide margin. My perspective would change if Rear Window had been nominated. It would then have been my personal winner. It is one of Hitchcock’s best, and also among my favourite films of all time. I can’t imagine that it wasn’t regarded as a snub at the time, as it is today.

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    manakamana
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    #165860

    I wonder if there was also some sentiment that they hadn’t given Donen’s prior film (Singin’ in the Rain!) due appreciation, but I think Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is quite a bit more respectable a nomination than The Country Girl (which I honestly doubt would be remembered still if Kelly hadn’t defeated Garland), and it was a critical and commercial success. If anything, I’m surprised The Country Girl is the Paramount picture that broke through over Rear Window and Sabrina

    As for Three Coins in the Fountain, which I’ve never seen, I have no idea.  

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    benbraddock
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    #165861

    ON THE WATERFRONT    slam dunk winner!!!!
    Iconic film that still holds up 60 years later…Amazing
    performance by BRANDO… and everyone else in the cast.

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    OnTheAisle
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    #165862

    1954 is primarily remembered for Judy Garland’s shocking Best Actress loss to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl, yet another battle of a superb actress in a career high facing off against a beauty in a memorable role. Kelly was certainly aided by her appearance in Rear Window that year as well.

    Garland was in a hospital bed on awards night after having given birth to her son. TV cameras were placed in the maternity ward to capture her joy after the expected victory for A Star is Born that never occurred. Garland retold the story numerous times of the cameramen stripping off the wires after the loss. Groucho Mark remarked at the time that it was the biggest robbery since Brink’s.

    The Best Actor Award was no less of a surprise. Bing Crosby was widely expected to take home a second Oscar for the alcoholic actor in The Country Girl. Given that support and Kelly’s win, it is no surprise that the movie was a Best Picture nominee.

    The Caine Mutiny was also well regarded.

    Interestingly, the directors for both Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Three Coins in the Fountain were nominated for prizes at the Directors Guild though snubbed by the Academy.
    While Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is now tainted by its depiction of the treatment of women, it is a stunning achievement in choreography. Michael Kidd used the camera in a manner that enhanced dance in film. The dancing is still thrilling.

    Like Chariots of Fire in the 1980s, Three Coins in the Fountain  owes its Best Picture nomination to a compelling piece of music set to cinematography of a beautiful, distant land that lifted the film to another level.

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    Filmatelist
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    #165863

    The Best Actor Award was no less of a surprise. Bing Crosby was widely expected to take home a second Oscar for the alcoholic actor in The Country Girl. Given that support and Kelly’s win, it is no surprise that the movie was a Best Picture nominee.

    Nonsense.  This was Brando’s fourth consecuctive Best Actor nomination, an unprecedented accomplishment by a male actor up to that time.  His STREETCAR performance (stage and screen) was already regarded as legendary, so by 1954, 3 years later, in the film with the most nominations, Brando’s win was as big a slam dunk as any in the Academy’s history.   

    I’ll have to disagree with the OP about SEVEN BRIDES.  It’s a fantastic musical and one that still holds up quite well over most of its other non-Kazan competitors from that year.  WATERFRONT certainly deserves the honor, though I’d say Hitchcock deserved the director’s award.   

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    OnTheAisle
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    #165864

    [quote=”OnTheAisle”]

    The Best Actor Award was no less of a surprise. Bing Crosby was widely expected to take home a second Oscar for the alcoholic actor in The Country Girl. Given that support and Kelly’s win, it is no surprise that the movie was a Best Picture nominee.

    Nonsense.  This was Brando’s fourth consecuctive Best Actor nomination, an unprecedented accomplishment by a male actor up to that time.  His STREETCAR performance (stage and screen) was already regarded as legendary, so by 1954, 3 years later, in the film with the most nominations, Brando’s win was as big a slam dunk as any in the Academy’s history.    

    [/quote]

    A “rematch” occurred in the category of Best Actor where Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart were competing again for the first time since Bogart beat him three years earlier. In a surprise win (Bing Crosby was the favored nominee), Brando received his first Oscar for his performance in On the Waterfront, which is now seen as one of the most justified upsets in Oscar history

    from Premiere. “100 Greatest Performances of All Time: 24-1”.

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    Eddy Q
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    #165865

    If they’d had the same level of Oscar handicapping in 1954 as we have now, I’ve no doubt Brando would’ve been considered the frontrunner.

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    Filmatelist
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    #165866

    [quote=”Filmatelist”][quote=”OnTheAisle”]

    The Best Actor Award was no less of a surprise. Bing Crosby was widely expected to take home a second Oscar for the alcoholic actor in The Country Girl. Given that support and Kelly’s win, it is no surprise that the movie was a Best Picture nominee.

    Nonsense.  This was Brando’s fourth consecuctive Best Actor nomination, an unprecedented accomplishment by a male actor up to that time.  His STREETCAR performance (stage and screen) was already regarded as legendary, so by 1954, 3 years later, in the film with the most nominations, Brando’s win was as big a slam dunk as any in the Academy’s history.    

    [/quote]

    A “rematch” occurred in the category of Best Actor where Marlon Brando and Humphrey Bogart were competing again for the first time since Bogart beat him three years earlier. In a surprise win (Bing Crosby was the favored nominee), Brando received his first Oscar for his performance in On the Waterfront, which is now seen as one of the most justified upsets in Oscar history

    from Premiere. “100 Greatest Performances of All Time: 24-1”.

    [/quote]

    Having won the New York Film Critics, National Board of Review and Gloden Globe Awards, On the Waterfront was the one to beat for Best Picture.  The two main actiing contests, on the other hand, were anything but an open-and-shut case…

    Marlon Brando may have become tired of losing Oscars, having been defeated for Best Actor three years in a row.  There would be no more shots of him in a T-shirt this year; the Hollywood rebel now wore a sports jacket around town, inspiring one columnist to quip, “If Marlon Brando keeps it up, he’ll win this year’s Golden Apple Award as the most cooperative actor from the Hollywood Women’s Press Club.”

    Bing Crosby, who had to be dragged to the ceremonies the year he won for Going My Way, told Army Archerd, “You bet I’ll be there, but Brando will win it.”

    — INSIDE OSCAR, Damien Bona

    Bona makes it clear it was a two-horse race, with Brando netting both the New York Film Critics and Golden Globe (Drama) awards.  Up to that time, every actor who’d gotten both of those (Lukas, Milland, Olivier, Crawford) went on to win the Oscar as well.  While he may not quite have been the slam dunk I characterized (a bit of hyperbole), he was far from an upset winner over a significant favorite. 

     

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