Friday, January 20, 2012

The Katie-Bar-The-Door Awards (1942)

By 1942, war had been raging in Europe for more than two years, and in Asia for more than ten, but you'd never know it from the movies of the era. As far as Hollywood was concerned, the war started when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and not one minute before. Not that Hollywood's myopia was anything unique—their indifference was very much in step with the rest of America's.

Once they discovered the war, though, they discovered it with a vengeance.

Hollywood's war fell into three overlapping phases—the rally-the-troops phase as the country's leaders coaxed Americans from their deeply-ingrained isolationism; the middle phase when films began to examine exactly what we were fighting for; and the final phase, when Hollywood was already anticipating the shape of the post-war world.

Casablanca, the classic romance starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, was very much part of the first phase, which is why I have included it here, rather than in 1943 where I usually think of it belonging (it did, after all, win the Oscar for best picture that year). But in fact, Casablanca actually premiered in November 1942, and more to the point it is the story of one man's journey from personal isolationism to fully-committed patriotism
the essence of a first phase film. As such, it belongs with such titles as Mrs. Miniver, To Be Or Not To Be and Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Still, seeing it here makes my head spin a bit.

For those of you playing along at home, Casablanca would have swept the same Katie awards whether I had placed it in 1942 or 1943. But in case you're wondering, if I had put it in 1943, the winners in 1942 would have been Cat People (picture/drama), Alan Ladd (actor/drama), Greer Garson (actress/drama), Orson Welles (director/drama), Van Heflin (supporting actor) and To Be Or Not To Be (screenplay).

The other awards would, of course, have stayed the same.

winner: Casablanca (prod. Hal B. Wallis)
nominees: Cat People (prod. Val Lewton); In Which We Serve (prod. Noel Coward); The Magnificent Ambersons (prod. Orson Welles); Now, Voyager (prod. Hal B. Wallis); Random Harvest (prod. Sidney Franklin)

PICTURE (Comedy/Musical)
winner: To Be Or Not To Be (prod. Ernst Lubitsch)
nominees: Bambi (prod. Walt Disney); The Palm Beach Story (prod. Buddy G. DeSylva and Paul Jones); Woman of the Year (prod. Joseph L. Mankiewicz); Yankee Doodle Dandy (prod. Hal B. Wallis and Jack B. Warner)

PICTURE (Foreign Language)
winner: Chichi ariki (There Was a Father) (prod. Shôchiku Film)
nominees: Aniki Bóbó (prod. António Lopes Ribeiro); L’Assassin Habite… au 21 (The Murderer Lives at Number 21) (prod. Alfred Greven)

ACTOR (Drama)
winner: Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca)
nominees: Ronald Colman (Random Harvest); Gary Cooper (The Pride Of The Yankees); Joseph Cotten (The Magnificent Ambersons); Alan Ladd (This Gun For Hire and The Glass Key)

ACTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: James Cagney (Yankee Doodle Dandy)
nominees: Jack Benny (To Be Or Not To Be); Joel McCrea (The Palm Beach Story); Spencer Tracy (Woman Of The Year); Monty Woolley (The Man Who Came To Dinner)

winner: Ingrid Bergman (Casablanca)
nominees: Bette Davis (Now, Voyager); Greer Garson (Mrs. Miniver and Random Harvest); Simone Simon (Cat People)

ACTRESS (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Carole Lombard (To Be Or Not To Be)
nominees: Jean Arthur (The Talk of the Town); Claudette Colbert (The Palm Beach Story); Katharine Hepburn (Woman Of The Year); Veronica Lake (I Married A Witch); Ginger Rogers (The Major And The Minor)

winner: Michael Curtiz (Casablanca)
nominees: Mervyn LeRoy (Random Harvest); Irving Rapper (Now, Voyager); Jacques Tourneur (Cat People); Orson Welles (The Magnificent Ambersons); William Wyler (Mrs. Miniver)

DIRECTOR (Comedy/Musical)
winner: Ernst Lubitsch (To Be Or Not To Be)
nominees: Michael Curtiz (Yankee Doodle Dandy); George Stevens (Woman of the Year and The Talk of the Town); Preston Sturges (The Palm Beach Story); Billy Wilder (The Major and the Minor)

winner: Claude Rains (Casablanca)
nominees: Van Heflin (Johnny Eager); Walter Huston (Yankee Doodle Dandy); Ronald Reagan (Kings Row); Sig Ruman (To Be Or Not To Be); S.Z. Sakall (Casablanca); Henry Travers (Mrs. Miniver); Dooley Wilson (Casablanca); Conrad Veidt (Casablanca)

winner: Agnes Moorehead (The Magnificent Ambersons)
nominees: Mary Astor (The Palm Beach Story); Gladys Cooper (Now, Voyager); Susan Peters (Random Harvest); Mary Wickes (The Man Who Came To Dinner)

winner: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, from the play "Everybody Comes To Rick's" by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison (Casablanca)
nominees: Noel Coward (In Which We Serve); Orson Welles, from the novel by Booth Tarkington (The Magnificent Ambersons); Edwin Justus Mayer, story by Melchior Lengyel (To Be Or Not To Be)

Nicholas Musuraca (Cat People) (Cinematography); Albert S. D'Agostino; Al Fields and Darrell Silvera (The Magnificent Ambersons) (Art Direction-Set Decoration)

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