Oscar Vault Monday – Mildred Pierce, 1945 (dir. Michael Curtiz)
This is one of my favorite films from the “film noir” era of classical Hollywood (although, you could argue it’s pre-noir, since a lot of scholars place 1946 as the first year of that era; but that’s neither here nor there). Joan Crawford gives one of the greatest performances of her long and diverse career and director Michael Curtiz (whose most famous film is probably Casablanca) hits all the right notes. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, winning one: Best B&W Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress Ann Blyth, Best Supporting Actress Eve Arden, Best Actress Joan Crawford (won) and Best Picture. The other films nominated that year were Anchors Aweigh, The Bells of St. Mary’s, Spellbound and winner The Lost Weekend.
Oscar Vault Monday – Anatomy of a Murder, 1959 (dir. Otto Preminger)
I first saw this movie during TCM Summer Under The Stars last August and it made me fall in love with Lee Remick. She is something else in this film, a film that also features a stellar ensemble cast. I also feel I must point out that this was the year that Ben-Hur won Best Picture and as much as I like Anatomy of a Murder there’s no comparison between the two. Especially in terms of scope and pure cinematic epicness. Ben-Hur is the kind of film that could only be a film, whereas Anatomy of Murder could have worked just as well as a play. That being said, Anatomy of a Murder is an amazing film and definitely worth your time. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, though it failed to win a single award: Best B&W Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor Arthur O’Connell, Best Supporting Actor George C. Scott, Best Actor James Stewart and Best Picture. The other films nominated for Best Picture that year were The Diary of Anne Frank, The Nun’s Story, Room at the Top and winner Ben-Hur (which won eleven Oscars).