Oscar Politics: Wilson, Michael–Writer

More than any other talent group, writers suffered from this rule. Michael Wilson won the writing Oscar with Harry Brown for “A Place in the Sun.” However refusing to answer charges of Communist affiliation, he found himself out of work.

In 1956, William Wyler's “Friendly Persuasion,” nominated for five awards, was released without giving credit to Michael Wilson's script, which he had written a decade before; the only credit mentioned on-screen was “from the book by Jessamyn West.”

Industry observers interpreted the writing nomination as an act of defiance by the Writers Branch, which always was more sympathetic toward its blacklisted members than the Academy, but Wilson never forgave director William Wyler and remained bitter to the end of his life.