20th Annual Academy Awards Results and Commentary (1948)

  • Date of Ceremony: Saturday, March 20, 1948
  • For films released in: 1947
  • Host(s): Agnes Moorehead and Dick Powell
Other years:

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Agnes Moorehead and Dick Powell hosted the 20th Academy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Saturday, March 20, 1948.

The awards were evenly spread out, with none of the big films taking more than three awards.

The night is especially remembered for its surprise win by Loretta Young for The Farmer’s Daughter. Everyone had expected Rosalind Russell to win for Mourning Becomes Electra. The actress had been campaigning heavily in the community for it and Daily Variety’s annual straw poll of Academy voters had indicated Russell would win…with Young dead last.

After the surprise win, the Academy asked its members to refrain from participating in polls in order to keep up the suspense and mystery surrounding the night.


Best Motion Picture

  • Gentleman's Agreement
    20th Century-Fox

Best Directing

  • Gentleman's Agreement
    Elia Kazan

Best Actor

  • A Double Life
    Ronald Colman

Best Actress

  • The Farmer's Daughter
    Loretta Young

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Miracle on 34th Street
    Edmund Gwenn

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Gentleman's Agreement
    Celeste Holm

Best Art Direction (Black-and-White)

  • Great Expectations
    John Bryan [Art Direction] and Wilfred Shingleton [Set Decoration]

Best Art Direction (Color)

  • Black Narcissus
    Alfred Junge [Art and Set Direction]

Best Cinematography (Black-and-White)

  • Great Expectations
    Guy Green

Best Cinematography (Color)

  • Black Narcissus
    Jack Cardiff

Best Documentary (Feature)

  • Design for Death
    Sid Rogell [Executive Producer], Theron Warth [Executive Producer] and Richard O. Fleischer [Executive Producer]

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

  • First Steps
    United Nations Division of Films and Visual Information

Best Film Editing

  • Body and Soul
    Francis Lyon and Robert Parrish

Best Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture)

  • A Double Life
    Dr. Miklos Rozsa

Best Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture)

  • Mother Wore Tights
    Alfred Newman

Best Music (Song)

  • Song of the South "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah"
    Allie Wrubel [Music by] and Ray Gilbert [Lyrics by]

Best Short Subject (Cartoon)

  • Tweetie Pie
    Edward Selzer

Best Short Subject (One-reel)

  • Good-bye Miss Turlock
    Herbert Moulton

Best Short Subject (Two-reel)

  • Climbing the Matterhorn
    Irving Allen

Best Sound Recording

  • The Bishop's Wife
    Samuel Goldwyn Studio Sound Department and Gordon Sawyer [Sound Director]

Best Special Effects

  • Green Dolphin Street
    A. Arnold Gillespie [Special Visual Effects by], Warren Newcombe [Special Visual Effects by], Douglas Shearer [Special Audible Effects by] and Michael Steinore [Special Audible Effects by]

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
    Sidney Sheldon

Best Writing (Motion Picture Story)

  • Miracle on 34th Street
    Valentine Davies

Special Award

  • James Baskett
    Note: …for his able and heart-warming characterization of Uncle Remus, friend and story teller to the children of the world in Walt Disney's Song of the South.
  • Colonel William N. Selig, Albert E. Smith, Thomas Armat and George K. Spoor
    Note: …(one of) the small group of pioneers whose belief in a new medium, and whose contributions to its development, blazed the trail along which the motion picture has progressed, in their lifetime, from obscurity to world-wide acclaim.
  • Bill and Coo
    Note: …in which artistry and patience blended in a novel and entertaining use of the medium of motion pictures.
  • Shoe-Shine
    Note: …the high quality of this motion picture, brought to eloquent life in a country scarred by war, is proof to the world that the creative spirit can triumph over adversity.

Scientific or Technical Award (Class II)

  • C.C. Davis and Electrical Research Products Division of Western Electric Co. Inc.
    Note: …for the development and application of an improved film drive filter mechanism.
  • Charles R. Daily and Paramount Studio Film Laboratory, Still and Engineering Departments
    Note: …for the development and first practical application to motion picture and still photography of a method of increasing film speed as first suggested to the industry by E. I. duPont de Nemours & Company.

Scientific or Technical Award (Class III)

  • Nathan Levinson and Warner Bros. Studio Sound Department
    Note: …for the design and construction of a constant-speed sound editing machine.
  • Farciot Edouart, Charles R. Daily, Hal Corl, H.G. Cartwright and Paramount Studio Engineering and Transparency Departments
    Note: …for the first application of a special anti-solarizing glass to high-intensity background and spot arc projectors.
  • Fred Ponedel [of Warner Bros. Studio]
    Note: …for pioneering the fabrication and practical application to motion picture color photography of large translucent photographic backgrounds.
  • Kurt Singer and RCA Victor Division of Radio Corporation of America
    Note: …for the design and development of a continuously variable band-elimination filter.
  • James Gibbons [of Warner Bros. Studio]
    Note: …for the development and production of large dyed plastic filters for motion picture photography.
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