Previous Academy Award winners

1942 Academy Awards® Winners and History

The winner is listed first, in CAPITAL letters.

JAMES CAGNEY in "Yankee Doodle Dandy", Ronald Colman in "Random Harvest", Gary Cooper in "The Pride of the Yankees", Walter Pidgeon in "Mrs. Miniver", Monty Woolley in "The Pied Piper"
GREER GARSON in "Mrs. Miniver", Bette Davis in "Now, Voyager", Katharine Hepburn in "Woman of the Year", Rosalind Russell in "My Sister Eileen", Teresa Wright in "The Pride of the Yankees"
Supporting Actor:
VAN HEFLIN in "Johnny Eager", William Bendix in "Wake Island", Walter Huston in "Yankee Doodle Dandy", Frank Morgan in "Tortilla Flat", Henry Travers in "Mrs. Miniver"
Supporting Actress:
TERESA WRIGHT in "Mrs. Miniver", Gladys Cooper in "Now, Voyager", Agnes Moorehead in "The Magnificent Ambersons", Susan Peters in "Random Harvest", Dame May Whitty in "Mrs. Miniver"
WILLIAM WYLER for "Mrs. Miniver", Michael Curtiz for "Yankee Doodle Dandy", John Farrow for "Wake Island", Mervyn LeRoy for "Random Harvest", Sam Wood for "Kings Row"

The country was in the midst of World War II, and many of the awards (and the themes of the films of 1942) reflected the country's pre-occupation with the war or the conflict. Some of the nominated 1942 films with propagandistic war themes included Mrs. Miniver, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Wake Island, The Invaders, The Pied Piper, To the Shores of Tripoli, This Above All, and The Fleet's In, to name a few.

The Best Picture winner, Mrs. Miniver was an influential film that helped to contribute to the Allied effort. The intense British melodrama was the story of a brave, upper middle class British family (headed by Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon) struggling during the war with the parents separated. In particular, it provided a picture of a courageous English woman who met the demands of wartime. The film ended with the oratorical words of the vicar (Henry Wilcoxon): "This is the people's war! It is our war! We are the fighters. Fight it then. Fight it with all that is in us. And may God defend the right!"

Director William Wyler's Mrs. Miniver, adapted from Jan Struther's series of articles, was nominated with twelve nominations in all the major categories and won six Academy Awards - Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best B/W Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (to four writers, one being James Hilton who had written many other novels that became famous films, including Lost Horizon (1937), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), and Random Harvest (1942)).

The film garnered Oscar nominations and/or wins in all four acting categories. [It was the first film in Academy history to receive five acting nominations.] The Miniver family consisted of the architect husband, played by Walter Pidgeon (nominated for Best Actor), joined by his indomitable wife Greer Garson (nominated for Best Actress for the title role), and their daughter-in-law Carol Beldon (Teresa Wright, nominated for Best Supporting Actress). Both Pidgeon and Garson had appeared as a popular romantic film couple before, most recently in the Best Picture-nominated film Blossoms in the Dust (1941). Pidgeon and Garson would appear in many more films together as husband-wife. Henry Travers and Dame May Whitty were nominated for supporting roles as Mr. Ballard and as the village matriarch Lady Beldon (co-star Teresa Wright's grandmother).

The defeated Best Picture nominees in 1942 included:

  • director Orson Welles' second film - the badly mutilated film by RKO, adapted from a Booth Tarkington novel The Magnificent Ambersons (with four nominations and no wins), about a spoiled aristocrat who eventually lost everything
  • director Sam Wood's melodramatic film based on Harry Bellamann's best-selling novel Kings Row (with three nominations and no wins) about a psychiatric doctor in a...
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