Oscar Movies: Hamlet (1948)

J. Arthur Rank-Two Cities Films (UK); released by United International

Laurence Olivier's Oscar-winning l948 Hamlet was a brilliant Shakespearean adaptation. The movie was filmed in a different style, emphasizing the camera as an active participant in the narrative, and shot in black and white. Despite criticism of the rendition, which ran 153 minutes, for omitting characters and whole scenes, Hamlet is an exciting film with fine acting by Olivier in the lead and the young Jean Simmons as Ophelia.

Oscar Nomination: 7

Picture, produced by Laurence Olivier
Director: Olivier
Actor: Olivier
Supporting Actress: Jean Simmons
Art Direction-Set Decoration (b/w): Roger K. Furse; Carmen Dillon
Costume Design (b/w): Roger K. Furse
Scoring (Dramatic or Comedy): William Walton

Oscar Awards: 4

Art Direction-Set Decoration
Costume Design

Oscar Context

In 1948, “Hamlet” competed for the top Oscar with the ballet-drama “The Red Shoes,” which broke box-office records in the U.S.; two melodramas, Johnny Belinda” with Jane Wyman and The Snake Pit” with Olivia De Havilland, and John Huston's brilliant crime drama, “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” with an all-star cast, headed by Humphrey Bogart and John Huston's father, Walter Huston.

The most nominated picture was “Johnny Belinda,” receiving 12 nominations, but winning only one Oscar, Best Actress for Jane Wyman as the deaf-mute girl Belinda McDonald. The major awards were spread rather evenly among the five nominees. “The Red Shoes” deservedly won the technical awards in color, a distinction that increased the number of winning films.