Who Should Have Won the Best Actor Oscar for 1949?

Hollywood began to recognize that not every lead actor had to be good looking to be a good actor. Hence, Broderick Crawford in All the King’s Men, a performance that has its moments both admirable and overwrought.

All the King's Men (1949 movie poster).jpg

Kirk Douglas turned in a searingly physical turn as a boxer in Champion:

Champion1949film.jpg

Gregory Peck tried to move past his pretty boy looks to take command in Twelve O’Clock High:

Twelve O'Clock High poster.jpg

Largely forgotten today, Richard Todd snagged a nomination for the combat hospital melodrama, The Hasty Heart, which also features a surprisingly effective Ronald Reagan:

The Hasty Heart.jpg

The final nomination went to John Wayne for the recruiting poster that is The Sands of Iwo Jima:

Sands of Iwo Jima poster.jpg

So who did the Academy ignore?

First of all, they picked the wrong Wayne performance. Rather than his gung-ho foray, they should have chosen his far more nuanced turn in John Ford’s She Wore a Yellow Ribbon:

Sheworeayellowribbonpost.jpg

Another supposedly lightweight actor also should have been nominated: Van Johnson for his outing as the good-time soldier caught by cowardice and fear in the gritty Battleground:

Battleground (film).jpg

James Cagney pulled out all the stops in his return to the gangster genre with White Heat: Oedipus never had it so good:

WhiteHeat.jpg

Robert Ryan did an astonishingly good job as a boxer on his way out the door in The Set-Up:

SetupPoster.JPGRobert Ryan in The Set-Up

If you would like to make other suggestions, please do so below in the comments!

As always, I have much more to say in my book: http://www.amazon.com/WHO-Won-Irreverent-Look-Oscars-ebook/dp/B00PKK8MBY/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415905574&sr=1-2

And now, please vote!

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