The 1951 Academy Awards, even though happened way before I was born, is a never-ending source of frustration and anger for me. It is actually part of the reason I rarely watch the Oscars. The problem was that there were two or three excellent films with multiple amazing male and female performances in each. The movies are “Sunset Boulevard”, “All About Eve”, and “Born Yesterday”. And this is how it went down, some of which they got right and much they were just plain wrong on:
Best Picture: All About Eve. It’s a tossup between this movie and “Sunset”. Since only one can win I guess I agree that “Eve” was slightly better as an all around fascinating movie with complex characters that were well-played.
Best Screenplay: All About Eve. I agree, there’s a lot more story to “Eve” than “Sunset”.
Best Director: Joseph Mankiewicz for “Eve”. Wrong! Billy Wilder for “Sunset” should’ve gotten it, hands down. The direction and cinematography in “Sunset” was some of the best in Hollywood, ever.
Best Actor: Jose Ferrar (for “Cyrano de Bergerac”). Yeah, no. William Holden for “Sunset” was clearly best performance.
Best Supporting Actor: George Sanders for “Eve”. Yes, aduh.
Best Actress: And here’s the biggest problem. Judy Holliday won for “Born Yesterday”. Fine and amusing performance but not the best of the year. It comes down to Bette Davis versus Gloria Swanson. I would’ve agonized for months over this decision but I think in the end it should’ve gone to… Gloria Swanson for “Sunset”. That was one fierce performance.
Best Supporting Actress: Josephine Hull for “Harvey”. WTF? No, it should’ve gone to Anne Baxter for “Eve”. She was, oddly, nominated as Best Actress alongside Bette Davis but if you’ve seen “All About Eve” Bette was the star, Anne was the supporting role. And don’t you ever forget that, Eve!
Now that I’ve got that off my chest maybe I’ll watch the show tonight. But I’m not holding my breath that they will come out and change the 1951 results tonight.