Oscar Movies: Hold Back the Dawn (1941)


Oscar Nominations: 6

Picture, produced by Arthur Hornblow, Jr.
Screenplay: Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder
Actress: Olivia De Havilland
Cinematography (b/w): Leo Tover
Interior Decoration (b/w): Hans Dreier and Robert Usher, art direction; Sam Comer, set decoration
Scoring (Dramatic): Victor Young

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context

John Ford's “How Green Was My Valley” was selected by the Academy as Best Picture while the U.S. had already been involved in the War. The film's warmly sympathetic depiction of family unity must have hit deep chords in the country's collective consciousness, which may explain, at least in part, why its two major competitors, Orson Welles's masterpiece, “Citizen Kane” and William Wyler's “The Little Foxes,” each with nine nominations, were the losers. Both films particularly “Little Foxes,” represented dark and somber visions of the American family. Once again, the “right” contents and ideological approach made the difference, though it's noteworthy that “How Green” was as visually distinguishable as it was thematically acceptable.

The most nominated film in 1941 was Howard Hawks' patriotic saga, “Sergeant York,” which received 11 nominations and won two: Gary Cooper as Best Actor and Film Editing for William Holmes.

In 1941, “Hold Back the Dawn” competed for the Best Picture Oscar with “Blossoms in the Dust,” “Citizen Kane,” “Here Comes Mr. Jordan,” How Green Was My Valley,” “The Little Foxes,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “One Foot in Heaven,” “Sergeant York,” and “Suspicion.”