Best Picture Nominees: 1944

For more information about 1944, see The Learning Network's Fact Monster.

Going My Way (Leo McCarey)
Won Best Picture
A new priest, Father O'Malley (Bing Crosby), shows up at the parish of a crusty old priest named Father Fitzgibbon (Barry Fitzgerald) in the New York slums. O'Malley must ingratiate himself with both the old man and his congregation. There are various ups and downs in their relationship, but on the whole, it all seems to be going rather well. Then one night, the church burns to the ground. This was a major box office hit, in which Crosby sings "Swinging on a Star" and "Too-ra-Loo-ra-Loo-ra".

Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder)
Nominated Best Picture
IMDb Highest Rated
One of the greatest, darkest film noirs of all time and one of the best suspense/thriller films of the 1940's, with a brilliant script based on a novel by James M. Cain, written by Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder. Smooth talking insurance salesman Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) meets attractive Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) when he calls to renew her husband's automobile policy. The couple are immediately drawn to each other, and an affair begins. They cook up a scheme to murder Mr. Dietrichson for life insurance money with a double indemnity clause. Claims agent Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson), a perceptive, dogged co-worker in Walter's insurance company, becomes suspicious and unravels the case. In the uncompromising ending, the two lovers plot against each other.

Henry V (Laurence Olivier)
Nominated Best Picture
Based on of the most popular historical plays by Shakespeare and made in order to boost moral of British troops during WW2, this movie is about English King Henry V (Laurence Olivier) and his military campaign in France in 1415.

Gaslight (George Cukor)
Nominated Best Picture
A classic, lavishly glossy, pseudo-Victorian thriller. In London, Paula Alquist (Ingrid Bergman), a wealthy, vulnerably-innocent socialite marries a charming ne'er-do-well, urbane, worldly Londoner Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer). She is convinced to move into her murdered Aunt's ancestral home. (Anton killed the Aunt years earlier). He is determined to drive his wife mad to get the inheritance--obsessed with finding her Aunt's hidden jewelry in their house. The menacing Anton methodically victimizes and terrorizes his wife by playing upon her memory lapses and by tricking her with dimming gaslights and unsettling sounds from the attic, until savvy Scotland Yard detective Brian Cameron (Joseph Cotten) enters the case and realizes Paula is deliberately being tormented. The saucy, teenage maid Nancy Oliver is Angela Lansbury in a supporting role--her film debut.


Since You Went Away (John Cromwell)
Nominated Best Picture
A big-budget, sentimental soap opera of a genteel, idealized Midwestern family left on the home front during World War II. The film epitomizes Hollywood's effort to boost morale during the war. The family's individual tragedies and problems are presented in this classic, melodramatic weeper.

While husband Tim is away during World War II, Anne Hilton (Claudette Colbert) copes with problems on the homefront. Taking in a lodger, Colonel Smollett (Monty Woolley), to help make ends meet and dealing with shortages and rationing are minor inconveniences compared to the love affair daughter Jane (Jennifer Jones) and the Colonel's grandson (Robert Walker) conduct. Also stars a teenaged Shirley Temple as daughter "Brig".


Wilson (Henry King)
Nominated Best Picture
The biography of President Woodrow Wilson (Alexander Knox). Knox received his one-and-only Oscar nomination for this role.

Laura (Otto Preminger)
A gripping, moody, stylish murder mystery, a classic, complex film noir and tale of romance with sharp and witty dialogue. The film opens with the voice of a prissy, acerbic, cynical newspaper columnist named Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), who unfolds the story in flashbacks. Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates the killing of Laura (Gene Tierney), found dead on her apartment floor before the movie starts. McPherson builds a mental picture of the dead girl from the suspects whom he interviews. He is helped by the striking painting of the late, lamented Laura hanging on her apartment wall. The detective's earthy directness and toughness is contrasted to the smug, pseudo-intellectualism of the victim's upper crust, socially-prominent friends in Manhattan, including Lydecker, and an effeminate gigolo named Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price). But who would have wanted to kill a girl with whom every man she met seemed to fall in love? To make matters worse, McPherson finds himself falling under her spell too. Then one night, halfway through his investigations, something seriously bizarre happens to make him re-think the whole case.

Arsenic and Old Lace (Frank Capra)
Solonor's Pick
A hilariously-funny, frantic farce and black comedy--a frenzied adaptation of the smash Broadway play. Two sweet old ladies, Abby (Josephine Hull) and Martha Brewster (Jean Adair) poison lonely gentlemen male callers in their Brooklyn home as mercy killings. They serve them homemade elderberry wine and then bury them (with Christian burials) in their cellar. Their hapless nephew Mortimer (Cary Grant) discovers what's been going on when he finds a dead body in the window seat. He mistakenly believes that his crazy eccentric brother "Teddy Roosevelt" Brewster (John Alexander) is responsible and wants to get him safely committed, never even suspecting his two aunts. Mortimer is also confronted by the unexpected arrival of his sinister, psychotic, murderous brother on the lam, Jonathan Brewster (Raymond Massey) who has a body of his own. Jonathan is accompanied by another villainous companion, Dr. Einstein (Peter Lorre). To make matters worse, Mortimer has just gotten married to Elaine (Priscilla Lane), who is waiting to go on their honeymoon.

To Have and To Have Not (Howard Hawks)
Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway. Harry Morgan (Humphrey Bogart) and his alcoholic sidekick, Eddie (Walter Brennan), are based on the island of Martinique and crew a boat available for hire. However, since the second world war is happening around them, business is not what it could be, and after a customer who owes them a large sum fails to pay, they are forced against their better judgement to violate their preferred neutrality and take a job for the resistance transporting a fugitive on the run from the Nazis to Martinique. Through all this runs the stormy relationship between Morgan and Marie "Slim" Browning (Lauren Bacall), a resistance sympathizer and the sassy singer in the club where Morgan spends most of his days.

Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli)
One of MGM's greatest, most elegant, and most popular musicals. The nostalgic, romantic, heartwarming film is the story of the Smith family in turn-of-the-century St. Louis in the year before the 1904 World's Fair. The action surrounds the emotions which erupt in the family with the news of the family's impending move to New York due to Mr. Smith's (Leon Ames) job transfer. Mrs. Smith (Mary Astor) and the daughters, including eldest daughter, Esther (Judy Garland) and the precocious, morbid youngest daughter "Tootie" (Margaret O'Brien) want to remain. Esther sings most of the film's sentimental songs, including "The Boy Next Door," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and "The Trolley Song."

Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock)
In the Atlantic during WWII, a ship and a German U-boat are involved in a battle and both are sunk. The survivors from the ship gather in one of the boats. They are from a variety of backgrounds: an international journalist (Tallulah Bankhead), a rich businessman, the radio operator, a nurse, a steward, a sailor (John Hodiak) and an engineer with communist tendencies. Trouble starts when they pull a man out of the water who turns out to be the captain from the U-boat (Walter Slezak).

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Best Picture: 1944
What is the Best Picture of 1944?

Going My Way
Double Indemnity
Henry V
Since You Went Away
Arsenic and Old Lace
To Have and Have Not
Meet Me in St. Louis

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1943 <- Main Menu -> 1945

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