Oscar Movies: Gentleman's Agreement (1947)


Elia Kazan's “Gentleman's Agreement,” based on Laura Z. Hobson's novel and adapted to the screen by Moss Hart, dealt with anti-Semitism. At Oscar time, the drama was nominated for 8 Oscars, winning 3.

Oscar Nominations: 8

Picture, produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Director: Elia Kazan
Screenplay: Moss Hart
Actor: Gregory Peck
Actress: Dorothy McGuire
Supporting Actress: Celeste Holme
Supporting Actress; Anne Revere
Film Editing: Harmon Jones

Oscar Awards: 3

Supporting Actress: Celeste Holme

Oscar Context

“Gentleman's Agreement” was praised by most critics, one of whom one found it to be “more savagely arresting and properly resolved as a picture than it was as a book,” and describing its script as “electric with honest reportage.”

The film's major competitor for the Academy Awards of 1947 was Edward Dmytryk's “Crossfire,” which lost in each of its five nominated categories. “Crossfire”'s nominated screenplay, by John Paxton, was based on Richard Brooks's novel The Brick Foxhole, though in a typically Hollywood manner it changed the book's homosexual hero into a Jew.

That “Gentleman's Agreement” was voted Best Picture for ideological, not artistic, considerations is clear not only from its win over “Crossfire, but also in its win over David Lean's masterpiece, “Great Expectations.” The Academy proved that when weighing a film's contents against its style, the former counts more.

The other two Best Picture nominees represented lighter fare: “The Bishop's Wife,” with 6 nominations, and “Miracle on 34th Street,” with 4 nods.

Gregory Peck lost the Best Actor, at his third nomination, to Academy's sentimental favorite, Ronald Colman, who won for George Cukor's “A Double Life.” McGuire lost to another industry vet, Loretta Young in “The Farmer's Daughter.”

The editing Oscar went to Francis Lyon and Robert Parrish for the boxing drama, “Body and Soul.”