1949 Oscars 21st Academy Awards

1949 Oscars 21st Academy Awards

  • Winners Announced: March 24, 1949
  • Venue: The Academy Theater, Hollywood, California, USA
  • Host: Robert Montgomery
  • Eligibility Year: Films released in 1948

Major Wins:

  • Best Picture went to Hamlet, starring Laurence Olivier.
  • Olivier also won Best Actor for his role in the same movie.
  • Jane Wyman bagged Best Actress for her performance in Johnny Belinda.

Directing & Screenplay:

  • Laurence Olivier, who was the man of the night, directed Hamlet, but the Best Director nod went to John Huston for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
  • The screenplay Oscars were divided, with The Treasure of the Sierra Madre taking Adapted and A Letter to Three Wives winning Original.

Additional Info:

  • Walter Huston won Best Supporting Actor for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a film directed by his son, John Huston.
  • Claire Trevor got Best Supporting Actress for her role in Key Largo.


  • This was the first time a non-Hollywood film, Hamlet, won Best Picture.
  • Hamlet was the first time an individual (Laurence Olivier) directed himself in an Oscar-winning performance.
  • Johnny Belinda earned 12 Oscar nominations, winning 1.
  • The event was also notable as the first Oscars to be emceed by someone other than an Academy president.
  • The Oscars this year had a substantial number of nominations for films adapted from plays, which was a sign of Hollywood’s increasing reliance on tried-and-true source material.

1949 Oscar Nominees and Winners

Best Motion Picture:
Hamlet – Laurence Olivier for Universal Studios and General Film Distributors, Ltd. (WINNER)
Johnny Belinda – Jerry Wald for Warner Bros.
The Red Shoes – Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger for Eagle-Lion Films and General Film Distributors, Ltd.
The Snake Pit – Anatole Litvak and Robert Bassler for 20th Century Fox
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre – Henry Blanke for Warner Bros.
Best Director:
John Huston – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (WINNER)
Laurence Olivier – Hamlet
Jean Negulesco – Johnny Belinda
Fred Zinnemann – The Search
Anatole Litvak – The Snake Pit
Best Actor:
Laurence Olivier – Hamlet as Hamlet (WINNER)
Lew Ayres – Johnny Belinda as Dr. Robert Richardson
Montgomery Clift – The Search as Ralph “Steve” Stevenson
Dan Dailey – When My Baby Smiles at Me as “Skid” Johnson
Clifton Webb – Sitting Pretty as Lynn Belvedere
Best Actress:
Jane Wyman – Johnny Belinda as Belinda MacDonald (WINNER)
Ingrid Bergman – Joan of Arc as Jeanne d’Arc
Olivia de Havilland – The Snake Pit as Virginia Stuart Cunningham
Irene Dunne – I Remember Mama as Marta “Mama” Hanson
Barbara Stanwyck – Sorry, Wrong Number as Leona Stevenson
Best Supporting Actor:
Walter Huston – The Treasure of the Sierra Madre as Howard (WINNER)
Charles Bickford – Johnny Belinda as Black MacDonald
José Ferrer – Joan of Arc as The Dauphin, later Charles VII of France
Oscar Homolka – I Remember Mama as Uncle Chris Halvorsen
Cecil Kellaway – The Luck of the Irish as Horace
Best Supporting Actress:
Claire Trevor – Key Largo as Gaye Dawn (WINNER)
Barbara Bel Geddes – I Remember Mama as Katrin Hanson
Ellen Corby – I Remember Mama as Aunt Trina
Agnes Moorehead – Johnny Belinda as Aggie MacDonald
Jean Simmons – Hamlet as Ophelia
Best Motion Picture Story:
The Search – Richard Schweizer and David Wechsler (WINNER)
Louisiana Story – Robert Flaherty and Frances Flaherty
The Naked City – Malvin Wald
Red River – Borden Chase
The Red Shoes – Emeric Pressburger
Best Screenplay:
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre – John Huston from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre by B. Traven (WINNER)
A Foreign Affair – Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, and Richard L. Breen from a story by David Shaw
Johnny Belinda – Irma von Cube and Allen Vincent from Johnny Belinda by Elmer Blaney Harris
The Search – Richard Schweizer and David Wechsler
The Snake Pit – Frank Partos and Millen Brand from The Snake Pit by Mary Jane Ward
Best Documentary Feature:
The Secret Land – Orville O. Dull (WINNER)
The Quiet One – Janice Loeb
Best Documentary Short Subject:
Toward Independence (WINNER)
Heart to Heart
Operation Vittles
Best Live Action Short Subject, One-Reel:
Symphony of a City – Edmund H. Reek (WINNER)
Annie Was a Wonder – Herbert Moulton
Cinderella Horse – Gordon Hollingshead
So You Want to Be on the Radio – Gordon Hollingshead
You Can’t Win – Pete Smith
Best Live Action Short Subject, Two-Reel:
Seal Island – Walt Disney (WINNER)
Calgary Stampede – Gordon Hollingshead
Going to Blazes – Herbert Morgan
Samba-Mania – Harry Grey
Snow Capers – Thomas Head
Best Short Subject – Cartoons:
The Little Orphan – Fred Quimby (WINNER)
Mickey and the Seal – Walt Disney
Mouse Wreckers – Edward Selzer
Robin Hoodlum – United Productions of America
Tea for Two Hundred – Walt Disney
Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture:
The Red Shoes – Brian Easdale (WINNER)
Hamlet – William Walton
Joan of Arc – Hugo Friedhofer
Johnny Belinda – Max Steiner
The Snake Pit – Alfred Newman
Best Scoring of a Musical Picture:
Easter Parade – Johnny Green and Roger Edens (WINNER)
The Emperor Waltz – Victor Young
The Pirate – Lennie Hayton
Romance on the High Seas – Ray Heindorf
When My Baby Smiles at Me – Alfred Newman
Best Original Song:
“Buttons and Bows” from The Paleface – Music and Lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans (WINNER)
“For Every Man There is a Woman” from Casbah – Music by Harold Arlen; Lyrics by Leo Robin
“It’s Magic” from Romance on the High Seas – Music by Jule Styne; Lyrics by Sammy Cahn
“This is the Moment” from That Lady in Ermine – Music by Frederick Hollander; Lyrics by Leo Robin
“The Woody Woodpecker Song” from Wet Blanket Policy – Music and Lyrics by Ramey Idriss and George Tibbles
Best Sound Recording:
The Snake Pit – Thomas T. Moulton (WINNER)
Johnny Belinda – Nathan Levinson
Moonrise – Daniel J. Bloomberg
Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Black-and-White:
Hamlet – Art Direction: Roger K. Furse; Set Decoration: Carmen Dillon (WINNER)
Johnny Belinda – Art Direction: Robert M. Haas; Set Decoration: William O. Wallace
Best Art Direction – Set Decoration, Color:
The Red Shoes – Art Direction: Hein Heckroth; Set Decoration: Arthur Lawson (WINNER)
Joan of Arc – Art Direction: Richard Day; Set Decoration: Casey Roberts and Joseph Kish
Best Cinematography, Black-and-White:
The Naked City – William Daniels (WINNER)
A Foreign Affair – Charles Lang
I Remember Mama – Nicholas Musuraca
Johnny Belinda – Ted D. McCord
Portrait of Jennie – Joseph August
Best Cinematography, Color:
Joan of Arc – Joseph Valentine, William V. Skall, and Winton C. Hoch (WINNER)
Green Grass of Wyoming – Charles G. Clarke
The Loves of Carmen – William Snyder
The Three Musketeers – Robert Planck
Best Costume Design, Black-and-White:
Hamlet – Roger K. Furse (WINNER)
B.F.’s Daughter – Irene Lentz
Best Costume Design, Color:
Joan of Arc – Dorothy Jeakins and Barbara Karinska (WINNER)
The Emperor Waltz – Edith Head and Gile Steele
Best Film Editing:
The Naked City – Paul Weatherwax (WINNER)
Joan of Arc – Frank Sullivan
Johnny Belinda – David Weisbart
Red River – Christian Nyby
The Red Shoes – Reginald Mills
Best Special Effects:
Portrait of Jennie – Paul Eagler, Joseph McMillan Johnson, Russell Shearman and Clarence Slifer; Special Audible Effects: Charles L. Freeman and James G. Stewart (WINNER)
Deep Waters – Ralph Hammeras, Fred Sersen and Edward Snyder; Special Audible Effects: Roger Heman Sr.
Academy Honorary Awards:
Sid Grauman “master showman, who raised the standard of exhibition of motion pictures.”
Adolph Zukor “a man who has been called the father of the feature film in America, for his services to the industry over a period of forty years.”
Walter Wanger “for distinguished service to the industry in adding to its moral stature in the world community by his production of the picture Joan of Arc.”
Best Foreign Language Film:
Monsieur Vincent (France)
Academy Juvenile Award:
Ivan Jandl
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award:
Jerry Wald
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