Top Ten 1944

1. Double Indemnity
2. Laura
3. Ivan The Terrible, Part I
4. The Uninvited
5. Meet Me In St. Louis
6. The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek
7. Hail The Conquering Hero
8. Since You Went Away
9. National Velvet
10. The Most Beautiful

BIL’S BEST ACTOR

Bing Crosby’s Oscar-winning performance in Going My Way has aged into painful, feel-good schmaltz, so I’m going with a couple of zany performances that are still as ripsnortingly funny now as ever they were. Eddie Bracken headlined two Preston Sturges classics in 1944, Hail! The Conquering Hero and The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek, and in both of them his manic energy never flags for a second.

Honour Roll: Bing Crosby, Going My Way; Cary Grant, Arsenic And Old Lace

BIL’S BEST ACTRESS

The award goes to Barbara Stanwyck, whose role as the TNT-legged femme fatale in Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity redefined the stereotype of the killer blonde in film noir forever.  Stanwyck could rarely appear on screen without stealing all the attention, and Wilder utilizes this to full effect by putting her dark side on display and daring us not to fall in love with it.

Honour Roll: Ingrid Bergman, Gaslight; Claudette Colbert, Since You Went Away; Greer Garson, Mrs. Parkington; Betty Hutton, The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek

BIL’S BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Laura is one of the coolest, creepiest film noirs made in the forties, and one of its most impressive attributes is the appearance of the milquetoast Clifton Webb; his real personal life drew a lot of pointing fingers (really he was just a gay boy who was devoted to his mother, but people can be so cruel), and that fey quality infects his performance here in the most memorable way.

Honour Roll: John Alexander, Arsenic And Old Lace; William Demarest, Hail The Conquering Hero/The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek; Barry Fitzgerald, Going My Way; Monty Woolley, Since You Went Away

BIL’S BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Hard-edged, sensible mothers are nothing new in the Hollywood canon of stock character types, and Oscar loves rewarding them. One of the richest examples of these is Anne Revere as Elizabeth Taylor’s kind and concerned but firm matriarch in National Velvet, which is still one of the most genuinely heartfelt films about children ever made. It’s a type of character that Brown would direct even more effectively the following year when Jane Wyman would give one of her most powerful performances in The Yearling.

Honour Roll:  Diana Lynn, The Miracle Of Morgan’s Creek; Agnes Moorehead, Mrs. Parkington; Margaret O’Brien, Meet Me In St. Louis; Teresa Wright, Since You Went Away

BIL’S BEST DIRECTOR

Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity

Honour Roll: Lewis Allen, The Uninvited; Sergei Eisenstein, Ivan The Terrible, Part I; Alfred Hitchcock, Lifeboat; Vincente Minnelli, Meet Me In St. Louis