Oscar Movies: How Green Was My Valley (1941)

Nominated for ten Oscars, the film won five, honoring Ford's Direction, Arthur Miller's Cinematography and Art direction. Sara Allgood was nominated for Supporting Actress, as the gentle mother, and Donald Crisp won the Supporting Actor Oscar for playing the stern father who's killed in the mine.

Oscar Nominations: 10

Picture, produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Director: John Ford
Screenplay: Philip Dunne
Supporting Actor: Donald Crisp
Supporting Actress: Sara Allgood
Cinematography (b/w): Arthur Miller
Interior Decoration (b/w): Richard Day and Nathan Juran, art direction; Thomas Little, set decoration
Sound Recording: E.H. Hansen
Scoring (Dramatic): Alfred Newman
Film Editing: James B. Clark

Oscar Awards: 5

Supporting Actor
Interior Decoration

Oscar Context

Not to be underestimated is the fact that “How Green Was My Valley” was selected by the Academy, 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.