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The 21st Academy Awards (1949)

Held at the Academy Award Theater on Thursday, March 24, 1949,
honoring movies released in 1948.

Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier examines his statuette for "Hamlet," following the formal presentation of the awards, on set at Denham Studios.

Best Picture

The Great Ziegfeld Full Image


J. Arthur Rank-Two Cities Films; Universal-International. [United Kingdom].

Best Actress

Best Actress Jane Wyman (“Johnny Belinda”). Full Image

Jane Wyman

Best Actress Jane Wyman (“Johnny Belinda”).

Best Supporting Actor & Best Director

Walter Huston and John Huston Full Image

Walter Huston and John Huston

Best Supporting Actor Walter Huston and Best Director John Huston ("The Treasure of the Sierra Madre").

The Year

21st Annual Academy Awards

Held at the Academy Award Theater on Thursday, March 24, 1949.

  • Best Picture: “Hamlet”
    • “Hamlet” also won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Laurence Olivier), Black-and-White Art Direction-Set Decoration  (Roger K. Furse and Carmen Dillon), and Black-and-White Costume Design (Roger K. Furse).
  • The ceremony was moved from the Shrine Auditorium to the Academy's own theater primarily because the major Hollywood studios had withdrawn their financial support in order to address rumors that they had been trying to influence voters. (View Image)
  • Robert Montgomery was the master of ceremonies.
  • Douglas Fairbanks Jr. accepted the Best Actor award on behalf of Laurence Olivier, who was in England.
  • For the first time, the Academy gave awards for Costume Design; nominees were separately classified between color and black-and-white films.
    (View Image)
  • In January 1948, Warner Bros. showed the first color newsreel; it featured the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl.
  • In March 1948, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club was founded.
  • In March 1948, the United States Supreme Court ruled that religious instruction in public schools violated the U.S. Constitution in the case McCollum v. Board of Education.
  • On April 3, 1948, President Truman signed the Foreign Assistance Act of 1948, known as the Marshall Plan, to stimulate economic recovery in Europe and China.
  • On June 11, 1948, the first monkey astronaut, Albert I, was launched into space by NASA.
  • On July 31, 1948, “New York International Airport,” renamed “John F. Kennedy International Airport” in 1963, was dedicated at Idlewild Field in New York.
  • In November 1948, President Truman defeated Thomas E. Dewey in the U.S. presidential election.
  • In December 1948, Cole Porter's musical "Kiss Me, Kate" opened on Broadway.

Special Foreign Language Film Award

France – To "Monsieur Vincent" - voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1948.

Special Award

To Sid Grauman, master showman, who raised the standard of exhibition of motion pictures.

Special Award

To Adolph Zukor, a man who has been called the father of the feature film in America, for his services to the industry over a period of forty years.

Special Award

To Jean Hersholt - in recognition of his service to the Academy during four terms as president.

Special Award

To Walter Wanger for distinguished service to the industry in adding to its moral stature in the world community by his production of the picture "Joan of Arc."

Special Award

To Ivan Jandl, for the outstanding juvenile performance of 1948, as 'Karel Malik' in "The Search."

Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

To Jerry Wald

See all Nominees and Winners

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