1943 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
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Academy Awards Summaries
Winners Charts:
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®

The winner is listed first, in CAPITAL letters.

Filmsite's Greatest Films of 1943

Best Picture


For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)

Heaven Can Wait (1943)

The Human Comedy (1943)

In Which We Serve (1942, UK)

Madame Curie (1943)

The More the Merrier (1943)

The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)

The Song of Bernadette (1943)

Watch on the Rhine (1943)

PAUL LUKAS in "Watch on the Rhine", Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca", Gary Cooper in "For Whom the Bell Tolls", Walter Pidgeon in "Madame Curie", Mickey Rooney in "The Human Comedy"
JENNIFER JONES in "The Song of Bernadette", Jean Arthur in "The More the Merrier", Ingrid Bergman in "For Whom the Bell Tolls", Joan Fontaine in "The Constant Nymph", Greer Garson in "Madame Curie"
Supporting Actor:
CHARLES COBURN in "The More the Merrier", Charles Bickford in "The Song of Bernadette", J. Carrol Naish in "Sahara", Claude Rains in "Casablanca", Akim Tamiroff in "For Whom the Bell Tolls"
Supporting Actress:
KATINA PAXINOU in "For Whom the Bell Tolls", Gladys Cooper in "The Song of Bernadette", Paulette Goddard in "So Proudly We Hail!", Anne Revere in "The Song of Bernadette", Lucile Watson in "Watch on the Rhine"
MICHAEL CURTIZ for "Casablanca", Clarence Brown for "The Human Comedy", Henry King for "The Song of Bernadette", Ernst Lubitsch for "Heaven Can Wait", George Stevens for "The More the Merrier"

This was the first year that Best Supporting Actors and Actresses received full-sized Oscar statuettes, rather than miniature Oscar plaques.

Director Michael Curtiz' Casablanca (with eight nominations and three Oscar wins - Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay for Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch) - the melodramatic story of international intrigue, romance and politics in the Nazi-occupied exotic locale of French Morocco, is now considered one of filmdom's best pictures ever made. The classic masterpiece of sacrifice and comradeship deservedly won the Best Picture award for 1943, but it was a dark horse candidate. Actually, it should have competed against Mrs. Miniver (1942) (the Best Picture winner in the previous year), since it premiered in New York in November of that year. However, it didn't show in Los Angeles until its general release that January, so it competed in 1943.

With an inspired cast, As Time Goes By, a great director, and unexpected wartime publicity, the superior film told the story of an aloof American owner (Bogart) of a bar in Casablanca who rescues his old girlfriend (Bergman) and her Resistance husband (Henreid) from the clutches of Axis authorities.

During WWII's height, four of the Best Picture nominees in 1943 had war as their themes. In addition to the Best Picture winner, three of the other nine Best Picture nominees of 1943 were also war films with patriotic or sentimental themes:

  • writer/co-director Noel Coward's outstanding production (with director David Lean) of the flag-waving British film In Which We Serve (with two nominations and no wins in 1943), about the lives of the crew of the torpedoed and sinking destroyer HMS Torrin during the Battle of Crete (based upon the true story of Lord Louis Mountbatten's destroyer HMS Kelly). This film had already received a Special Award in 1942 (for Coward's "outstanding production achievement")
  • director Herman Shumlin's Watch on the Rhine (with four nominations and one win - Best Actor), a film adaptation of Lillian Hellman's successful stage play about anti-fascism and the pursuit of a European couple that is part of the anti-Nazi underground
  • director Sam Wood's For Whom the Bell Tolls (with nine nominations and one win - Best Supporting Actress), a film adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's romantic/adventure novel and the story of the romance between an American school teacher and a traumatized woman he meets in a rebel camp during the Spanish Civil War
  • director Henry King's The Song of Bernadette (with twelve nominations and four wins - Best Actress, Best B/W Cinematography, Best B/W Interior Decoration, and Best Dramatic Score), the film with the most nominations for the year, based on a novel by Franz Werfel about a peasant girl who sees a vision of the Virgin Mary in a grotto at Lourdes in 1858
  • director Ernst Lubitsch's romantic comedy/satire Heaven Can Wait (with three nominations and no wins) - a remake of Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) about a philandering, amorous rogue who tries to convince the Devil in Hell that he was really a good human being
  • director Clarence Brown's The Human Comedy (with five nominations and one win - Best Original Story by William Saroyan) about the experiences of a small-town (California) Western Union telegram delivery boy during World War II
  • director Mervyn LeRoy's film biography of the discoverer of radium, Madame Curie (with seven nominations and no wins) - both male and female leads of Best Picture nominee Madame Curie lost - they were the popular, re-teamed romantic duo Walter Pidgeon and Greer Garson (the husband and wife of Mrs. Miniver)
  • director George Stevens' romantic comedy about a working, female civil servant who shares a cramped apartment in war-time Washington DC with two bachelors (one old gentleman - Charles Coburn and one handsome young man - Joel McCrea) in The More the Merrier (with six nominations and one win - Best Supporting Actor)
  • director William A. Wellman's western The Ox-Bow Incident (with only one nomination - Best Picture), about a mob that wrongly lynchs the wrong men, based on Walter Van Tilburg Clark's true story

Hungarian-born Paul Lukas (with his sole career nomination) won the Best Actor award - his first and only Oscar - for his role as Kurt Muller, a German engineer and anti-Nazi underground Resistance leader who flees the Nazis with wife Bette Davis to seek refuge in the US (Washington) and continue his freedom-fighting activities - until he is blackmailed - in Watch on the Rhine. Unfortunately, Humphrey Bogart (with his first of three career nominations), in his quintessential, signature role as disaffected cafe owner Rick Blaine in Casablanca lost the Oscar, but his nomination brought him recognition and status as a top actor.

The other three Best Actor nominees were:

  • Gary Cooper (with his fourth nomination) as freedom fighter/war hero Robert Jordan in For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • Walter Pidgeon (with his second and last unsuccessful career nomination) as co-star Greer Garson's scientist husband Pierre Curie in Madame Curie
  • Mickey Rooney (with his second of four unsuccessful career nominations) as Western Union messenger Homer Macauley who delivers death telegrams during WWII in The Human Comedy

In the Best Actress race, this was the first time in six years that Bette Davis didn't receive an Oscar nomination. She had been nominated as Best Actress for six consecutive years (from 1938-1942), and had won in both 1935 and 1938.

The Best Actress winner was twenty-four year-old Jennifer Jones (with her first career nomination) as the 14 year-old, 19th century French peasant girl of Lourdes named Bernadette in an adaptation of Franz Werfel's novel The Song of Bernadette. Jones portrayed a young, saintly girl who became canonized after claiming to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary (played by Linda Darnell, Darryl Zanuck's mistress) while gathering firewood, and was inspired to dig a well at the spot. [Producer/director David O. Selznick's protege (and future wife in 1949) was, in all respects, appearing in her debut film, although she had been in a few minor low-budget pictures a few years earlier under her real name - Phyllis Isley. Jennifer Jones never won another Oscar, but she was nominated four more times in the films: Since You Went Away (1944), Love Letters (1945), Duel in the Sun (1946), and Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1955).]

The Best Actress win for Jennifer Jones also deprived other great actresses of awards:

  • twenty-nine year old Ingrid Bergman, Bogart's lovely co-star in Casablanca was unacknowledged when she failed to be nominated for her role as Ilsa Lund; however, she was nominated (her first career nomination) as Best Actress for her role as traumatized rape victim - a peasant girl named Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls.
  • Greer Garson (with her fourth of seven Best Actress nominations - one of six nominations between 1939 and 1945) as famous scientist Madame Marie Curie who discovered radium in the fact-based biopic Madame Curie
  • Joan Fontaine (the last of three nominations in the four years between 1940 and 1943) as Tessa Sanger - a young Belgian girl in love with composer/co-star Charles Boyer in director Edmund Goulding's The Constant Nymph (the film's sole nomination)
  • Jean Arthur (with her sole career nomination) as career girl/government worker Connie Mulligan who shares her DC apartment with two other men in The More the Merrier. [Jean Arthur was a great screen comedienne and director Frank Capra's favorite actress - she appeared in key roles in many classics, including: Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), Easy Living (1937), Best Picture and Director winner You Can't Take It With You (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and Shane (1953), among others.]

In the Best Supporting Actor race, Charles Coburn (with his second nomination and sole Oscar win) won the Oscar for his role as Benjamin Dingle - an old, daffy gentleman who is a rich philanthropist/matchmaker sharing a room for rent in an apartment with Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea in the overcrowded, wartime US capital during wartime in The More the Merrier. The other four nominees were:

  • Claude Rains (with his second of four unsuccessful nominations) as the suave, Casablanca police chief Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca
  • Akim Tamiroff (with his second and last unsuccessful nomination) as Spanish guerrilla leader Pablo in For Whom the Bell Tolls
  • Charles Bickford (with the first of three unsuccessful nominations) as local priest Peyremaie in The Song of Bernadette
  • J. Carrol Naish (with his first of two unsuccessful nominations) as Italian POW Giuseppe in director Zoltan Korda's Libyan desert war film Sahara (with three nominations and no wins)

Greek actress Katina Paxinou (in her first American film and with her first and sole nomination) won the Best Supporting Actress award - her first and only Oscar - for her role as the powerful and fiery hill woman and gypsy Spanish Civil War revolutionary Pilar (Akim Tamiroff's wife in the film) who is a member of a loyalist band helped by Gary Cooper in For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Paxinou's victory defeated two co-stars of The Song of Bernadette:

  • Gladys Cooper (with her second of three unsuccessful nominations) as doubting Sister Vauzous
  • Anne Revere (with her first nomination) as Bernadette's poor mother Louise Soubirous

The remaining two nominees in the Best Supporting Actress category were:

  • Paulette Goddard (with her sole career nomination) as WW II Army nurse in Bataan named Lt. Jean O'Doul in director Mark Sandrich's So Proudly We Hail (with four nominations and no wins)
  • Lucile Watson (with her sole career nomination) as bossy Fanny Farrelly (Bette Davis' mother) in Watch on the Rhine

Max Steiner's score for the Best Picture winner, including the immortal song: "As Time Goes By," lost to Alfred Newman's Score for The Song of Bernadette. Arthur Edeson's Oscar-nominated B/W Cinematography for Casablanca was defeated by Arthur Miller for The Song of Bernadette.

Oscar Snubs and Omissions:

Although The More the Merrier had received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director (George Stevens), Best Original Story and Screenplay, and a win for Best Supporting Actor, Joel McCrea was deprived of an Oscar nomination for his crucial comic role in the film. In fact, McCrea never received an Oscar nomination.

Ironically, Ingrid Bergman was nominated (and lost) for For Whom the Bell Tolls as Gary Cooper's lover, but was un-nominated for her most famous role as beautiful and radiant Ilsa Lund, co-star Humphrey Bogart's conflicted Parisian love interest - who asked cafe pianist Sam to play "As Time Goes By," in the most famous scene in Michael Curtiz's Casablanca.

Also un-nominated was Ida Lupino's great performance in The Hard Way - the role won her the Best Actress award from the New York Film Critics. Likewise, the great silent film director Erich von Stroheim was omitted from the nominees for his role as Erwin Rommel in Billy Wilder's second film, Five Graves to Cairo. [Stroheim would have to wait seven years for his first nomination -- for his unforgettable role as Max von Mayerling in Sunset Boulevard (1950).]

The Best Picture-nominated film The Ox-Bow Incident was a deserved honor, but none of the cast, including Henry Fonda, was nominated. Ernst Lubitsch's nomination for Best Director for the Best Picture nominee Heaven Can Wait was doomed to lose. Actor Don Ameche turned in one of his best performances in the film and it was one of Lubitsch's greatest, but 20th Century-Fox was promoting The Song of Bernadette instead.

One of Hitchcock's greatest thrillers (and the director's own favorite), Shadow of a Doubt, deserved more recognition than it received - only a Best Original Screenplay nomination - snubbed were both Joseph Cotten's chilling role as dark-hearted, widow-murdering serial killer Uncle Charlie, and Teresa Wright's performance as Young Charlie (Charlie's niece). [Joseph Cotten never received an Oscar nomination, although he appeared in some of the greatest films ever made, including Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942).]

Elizabeth Taylor's second film Lassie Come Home, the first feature film to star a collie, helped to launch her career and the beloved animal series that began in 1954 - it received only one nomination - for Color Cinematography. [Lassie Come Home was followed by six sequels.] The feature film that was the directing debut of Vincente Minnelli was Cabin in the Sky - it featured an all-black cast. The film's sole un-successful nomination was for Best Song, "Happiness is a Thing Called Joe."

Other films without any nominations included Old Acquaintance (with Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins) and one of Jacques Tourneur's best horror films with producer Val Lewton: I Walked With a Zombie. Hangmen Also Die received only two nominations (for Best Song and Score).

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