21st Annual Academy Awards Results and Commentary (1949)

  • Date of Ceremony: Thursday, March 24, 1949
  • For films released in: 1948
  • Host(s): George Montgomery
Other years:

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Actor George Montgomery hosted the 21st Annual Academy Awards at the Academy Theatre on Thursday, March 24, 1949.

Jane Wyman’s character in Johnny Belinda was a deaf-mute, so her Best Actress win marked the first time since the silent movie days that a performance with no lines had been honored.

The ceremony also marked the first time that costume design was being honored.

Of note for the evening was the fact that two British movies, Hamlet and The Red Shoes, won six Oscars including Best Picture for Hamlet and Best Actor for Laurence Olivier’s performance of the titular character.


Best Motion Picture

  • Hamlet
    J. Arthur Rank-Two Cities Films

Best Directing

  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    John Huston

Best Actor

  • Hamlet
    Laurence Olivier

Best Actress

  • Johnny Belinda
    Jane Wyman

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Walter Huston

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Key Largo
    Claire Trevor

Special Foreign Language Film Award

  • Monsieur Vincent
    Note: …voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1948.

Best Art Direction (Black-and-White)

  • Hamlet
    Roger K. Furse [Art Direction] and Carmen Dillon [Set Decoration]

Best Art Direction (Color)

  • The Red Shoes
    Hein Heckroth [Art Direction] and Arthur Lawson [Set Decoration]

Best Cinematography (Black-and-White)

  • The Naked City
    William Daniels

Best Cinematography (Color)

  • Joan of Arc
    Joseph Valentine, William V. Skall and Winton Hoch

Best Costume Design (Black-and-White)

  • Hamlet
    Roger K. Furse

Best Costume Design (Color)

  • Joan of Arc
    Dorothy Jeakins and Karinska

Best Documentary (Feature)

  • The Secret Land
    Orville O. Dull

Best Documentary (Short Subject)

  • Toward Independence
    United States Army

Best Film Editing

  • The Naked City
    Paul Weatherwax

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

  • The Red Shoes
    Brian Easdale

Best Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture)

  • Easter Parade
    Johnny Green and Roger Edens

Best Music (Song)

  • The Paleface "Buttons and Bows"
    Jay Livingston [Music and Lyrics by] and Ray Evans [Music and Lyrics by]

Best Short Subject (Cartoon)

  • The Little Orphan
    Fred Quimby

Best Short Subject (One-reel)

  • Symphony of a City
    Edmund H. Reek

Best Short Subject (Two-reel)

  • Seal Island
    Walt Disney

Best Sound Recording

  • The Snake Pit
    20th Century-Fox Studio Sound Department and Thomas T. Moulton [Sound Director]

Best Special Effects

  • Portrait of Jennie
    Paul Eagler [Special Visual Effects by], J. McMillan Johnson [Special Visual Effects by], Russell Shearman [Special Visual Effects by], Clarence Slifer [Special Visual Effects by], Charles Freeman [Special Audible Effects by] and James G. Stewart [Special Audible Effects by]

Best Writing (Screenplay)

  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    John Huston

Best Writing (Motion Picture Story)

  • The Search
    Richard Schweizer and David Wechsler

Special Award

  • Ivan Jandl
    Note: …for the outstanding juvenile performance of 1948, as “Karel Malik” in The Search.
  • Sid Grauman
    Note: …master showman, who raised the standard of exhibition of motion pictures.
  • Adolph Zukor
    Note: …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
    Note: …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.
  • Jean Hersholt
    Note: …in recognition of his service to the Academy during four terms as president.

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

  • Jerry Wald

Scientific or Technical Award (Class II)

  • Victor Caccialanza, Maurice Ayers and Paramount Studio Set Construction Department
    Note: …for the development and application of “Paralite”, a new lightweight plaster process for set construction.
  • Nick Kalten, Louis J. Witte and 20th Century-Fox Studio Mechanical Effects Department
    Note: …for a process of preserving and flame-proofing foliage.

Scientific or Technical Award (Class III)

  • Marty Martin, Jack Lannon, Russell Shearman and RKO Radio Studio Special Effects Department
    Note: …for the development of a new method of simulating falling snow on motion picture sets.
  • A.J. Moran and Warner Bros. Studio Electrical Department
    Note: …for a method of remote control for shutters on motion picture arc lighting equipment.
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