Oscar 1944: Best Picture

In the l940s, the only Oscar-winning comedy was Going My Way (l944), directed by Leo McCarey and starring Bing Crosby, as a progressive priest who turns a group of young delinquents into a choir, and Barry Fitzgerald, as the old and irascible priest, still attached to his 90-year old mother.

Both Crosby and Fitzgerald won acting awards, the former in the lead and the latter in the supporting category. Going My Way was the only nominated comedy in l944; the other nominees were two noir pictures, Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity and George Cukor's Gaslight, and two patriotic fares, Since You Went Away and Wilson.

Nominated for 10 Oscars, the movie won 7: Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Original Story (Leo McCarey), Screenplay (Frank Butler and Frank Cavett), and Song, “Swimming on a Star,” music by James Van Heusen, lyrics by Johnny Burke. The picture lost Actor (in bizarre and unique circumstances, Fitzgerald was nominated for both Actor and Supporting Actor for the same role), B/W Cinematography (Lionel Lindon), and Editing (Leroy Stone).

Going My Way proved to be the sentimental favorite of the public too, ranking as the top grossing film of the year. Earlier, the film won the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the Golden Globe for Best Picture.