Academy Award Rankings

Ranking All The Movies Nominated At The 14th Academy Awards In 1942

14th Academy Awards in 1942

“What are the best movies nominated for the 14th Academy Awards in 1942?” We looked at all 99 movies nominated for an Oscar in 1942 and ranked them again one another to answer that very question!

We took all 96 movies that were nominated for an Academy Award in 1942 and looked at their Rotten Tomato Critic, Rotten Tomato User, IMDB, and Letterboxd scores, ranking them against one another to see which movies came out on top. The movies are ranked on our list below, with the full chart of rankings included at the bottom of the page. We did not use Metacritic scores because of the lack of data for older movies on that site. Metacritic scores will be included when we do rankings for other years in the future.

If you want to see the rankings for additional years you can visit our Academy Award Rankings page.

Happy Viewing!



The Top 14th Academy Award Movie Rankings



93 Tie ) Alive in the Deep

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel

Oscar nominated short film



93 Tie ) Beauty and the Beach

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

This Paramount Headliner short (in-house number A1-1) was filmed at Jones Beach and features a background of pretty girls, bathing suits and the ocean. Johnny Long and His Orchestra provide the music for five songs, including “Kiss the Boys Goodbye”, and Helen Young and Bob Huston provide the vocals.



93 Tie ) Life of a Thoroughbred

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary

1941 Oscar nominated short documentary by Tom Cummiskey



93 Tie ) Norway in Revolt

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary

1941 Oscar nominated documentary

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93 Tie ) Russian Soil

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary

1941 Oscar nominated documentary



93 Tie ) Sagebrush and Silver

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

Oscar nominated short film



93 Tie ) Soldiers of the Sky

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary

1941 Oscar nominated short documentary



92 ) Adventure in the Bronx

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary

1941 Oscar nominated documentary



90 Tie ) Bomber

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary

Documentary short demonstrating the process of building a medium bomber for the United States Army Air Corps.



90 Tie ) Mercy Island

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

The beautiful Florida Keys provide the setting of this adventure that tells the tale of a fun-filled fishing trip that becomes a nightmare when the charter boat is wrecked on an isolated island. Unfortunately, there are very few provisions and the group must fend for themselves. They are eventually assisted by a hermit, but before that one of the group goes insane, and another is eaten by an alligator.

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89 ) All-American Co-Ed

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

All-girl school Mar Brynn tries to get more pupils and publicity by making fun of the Quincton college. For revenge, the boys there sent Bob Sheppard to Mar Brynn, dressed as a girl, to give them a slight scandal. But he falls in love with Virginia, the girl who is putting on a show there. Now Bob has the problem of getting revenge for Quinceton and not loosing his girl, especially when Quinceton hears about his relationship and decides to sent him support…

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88 ) Kings of the Turf

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

This entry in “The Sports Parade” series, shows us how Mortimer, a Standardbred horse, is trained for harness racing.

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87 ) Forty Boys and a Song

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

A tribute to the Robert Mitchell Choir School of Hollywood, which trains talented young boys in the musical arts in addition to regular academic studies.



86 ) Sunny

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

Sunny is a 1941 film American film directed by Herbert Wilcox. It was adapted by Sig Herzig from the Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II musical play Sunny. It stars Anna Neagle, Ray Bolger, John Carroll, Edward Everett Horton, Grace Hartman, Paul Hartman, Frieda Inescort, and Helen Westley.

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82 Tie ) Ice-Capades

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

By Republic Pictures standards, 1941’s Ice-Capades certainly qualifies as an “all-star” film. The many subplots center around a performance of the real-life Ice-Capades skating troupe, featuring such luminaries as Belita, Red McCarthy, Megan Taylor, and future Republic film queen Vera Hruba Ralston. James Ellison plays the nominal leading character, a hotshot newsreel cameraman named Bob Clemens. Assigned to film an international skating star in action, Clemens inadvertently wastes miles of celluloid on aspiring skater Marie (Dorothy Lewis) rather than the real star, the unphotogenic Karen Vajda (Rene Riano). But not to worry: With the help of slick showbiz promoter Larry Herman (Phil Silvers), Marie becomes an Ice-Capades headliner in her own right. In addition to Silvers, the comedy relief in Ice-Capades is in the capable hands of Vera Vague (Barbara Jo Allen), Jerry Colonna and Gus Schilling.



82 Tie ) Las Vegas Nights

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song

Frank Sinatra’s first screen appearance was his very small role as a band singer in this minor 1941 musical, centered around the opening of a nightclub.



82 Tie ) The Gay Parisian

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel

In a Paris nightclub setting, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo performs to the music of Jacques Offenbach.



82 Tie ) The Tanks Are Coming

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel

An American tank crew fights its way into Germany in World War II.

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81 ) This Woman Is Mine

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

Three seafaring fur traders fall in love with a female stowaway they discover aboard their ship. Many adventures follow.



79 Tie ) King of the Zombies

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

During World War II, a small plane somewhere over the Caribbean runs low on fuel and is blown off course by a storm. Guided by a faint radio signal, they crash-land on an island. The passenger, his manservant and the pilot take refuge in a mansion owned by a doctor. The quick-witted yet easily-frightened manservant soon becomes convinced the mansion is haunted by zombies and ghosts.

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79 Tie ) Warclouds in the Pacific

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary

Much activity is happening in naval yards on the western shores of the Pacific as tensions rise across the ocean with Nazi Germany’s support of the Japanese government and military. As such, westerners in Pacific outposts have headed home in case of war in the Pacific. These tensions make it difficult for Japanese-Canadians who have adopted their new homeland as their own. The Japanese learned modern technologies through global trade, and now may use that technology against their western trading partners. There is also much internal tension with Japan itself as it tries to reconcile its feudal history with its new modern self as a potential global power. But one things that may prevent a Pacific base war is the current Sino-Japanese War with which the Japanese must first contend. Regardless, the western powers, including Canada, are militarily prepared.



78 ) How War Came

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

1941 animated short film by Paul Fennell that was nominated for an Oscar



76 Tie ) Aloma of the South Seas

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Color
  • Best Effects, Special Effects

A young South Seas native boy is sent to the U.S. for his education and returns to his island after his father dies to try to stop a revolution.



76 Tie ) The Devil Pays Off

Nominated For:

  • Best Sound, Recording

A former Navy man attempts to redeem his honor by exposing a shipping tycoon’s dealings with the enemy.



75 ) Sundown

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White
  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

Englishmen fighting Nazis in Africa discover an exotic mystery woman living among the natives and enlist her aid in overcoming the Germans.

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74 ) The Invisible Woman

Nominated For:

  • Best Effects, Special Effects

A sexy model volunteers to be a test subject for a new invisibility machine. But does she have ulterior motives?

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73 ) Billy the Kid

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Color

Billy Bonney is a hot-headed gunslinger who narrowly skirts a life of crime by being befriended and hired by a peaceful rancher, Eric Keating. When Keating is killed, Billy seeks revenge on the men who killed him, even if it means opposing his friend, Marshal Jim Sherwood.



69 Tie ) Army Champions

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

This MGM short, part of the A Pete Smith Specialty series, focuses on the young men who have signed up for the US Army. The film uses the analogy of the speed, accuracy, and teamwork of sports and how these qualities are translated into the weapons training of American soldiers. We watch target practice by US Army personnel with shoulder weapons, mortars, and various artillery pieces.



69 Tie ) Forbidden Passage

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel

This entry in MGM’s series of shorts, “Crime Doesn’t Pay”, features the U.S. Department of Immigration’s efforts to halt the smuggling of illegal aliens into the country. Desperate immigrants, tired of waiting for legal entry, pay exorbitant fees and risk a grisly death to enter by illegal means.



69 Tie ) Ridin’ on a Rainbow

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song

When the showboat hits town, two men use the parade as a distraction to rob the bank. Their accomplice is Pop, the clown from the showboat. He leaves the money on the boat and tells his daughter Patsy to bring it to him at a later stop on the river. Gene’s investigation of a bank robbery takes him to the showboat where he becomes a performer. Gene and Frog try to find the money while helping Patsy and her father.

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69 Tie ) Tanks a Million

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

Chubby William Tracy starred as Dodo Doubleday, a feckless Army draftee blessed (or cursed) with a photographic memory. Inexplicably promoted to sergeant, Doubleday becomes the bane of topkick Sgt. Ames’ (Joe Sawyer) existence.

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67 Tie ) Flight Command

Nominated For:

  • Best Effects, Special Effects

A rookie flyer, Ens. Alan Drake, joins the famous Hellcats Squadron right out of flight school in Pensacola. He doesn’t make a great first impression when he is forced to ditch his airplane and parachute to safety when he arrives at the base but is unable to land due to heavy fog. On his first day on the job, his poor shooting skills results in the Hellcats losing an air combat competition. His fellow pilots accept him anyways but they think he’s crossed the line when they erroneously conclude that while their CO Billy Gray is away, Drake has an affair with his wife Lorna. Drake is now an outcast and is prepared to resign from the Navy but his extreme heroism in saving Billy Gray’s life turns things around.

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67 Tie ) I Wanted Wings

Nominated For:

  • Best Effects, Special Effects (Win)

Told in flashback, this drama follows the training and personal lives of three recruits in the Army Air Corps: a wealthy playboy, a college jock, and an auto mechanic. Love interest is supplied by a female photographer and a sultry blonde.

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66 ) The Chocolate Soldier

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture
  • Best Sound, Recording

Maria and Karl Lang are the singing duo of Vienna. Maria is very flirtatious and Karl very jealous. Karl decides to masquerade as a Russian guardsman and attempts to make Maria flirt with him – to test her loyalty to him – as the Russian, Karl makes a vigorous attempt to seduce Maria. For a moment she accepts then rejects. Karl is left in turmoil…

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64 Tie ) A Place to Live

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary

Inner city squalor in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the subject of this documentary, which focuses on a child returning from school to his home, a cramped and squalid apartment in a rat-infested slum neighborhood.



64 Tie ) The Rookie Bear

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

In a humorous report, “Strife” magazine follows a bear who gets drafted and goes through the rigors of Army basic training.



63 ) Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company ‘B’

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

Hot Breath Harry is a hot trumpeter at a jazz club. He finds himself drafted into the Army, where he’s assigned to be the bugler of an African-American company. But everyone hates the bugler, because he blows reveille at the ungodly hour of 5 AM sharp.



62 ) Of Pups and Puzzles

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel (Win)

A nation preparing for war must match people with jobs they can do well. This film shows how a Ph.D., a chimp, and three dogs help design aptitude tests for men applying for work. The tests, developed by researchers using the ape and the dogs, help a psychometrist to distinguish the physical dexterity, emotional stability, and problem solving abilities of three job applicants in order to match the men to the right role in the military buildup.



59 Tie ) Appointment for Love

Nominated For:

  • Best Sound, Recording

Charming Andre Cassil woos physician Jane Alexander and the two impulsively get married. The honeymoon ends very quickly when Jane voices her progressive views on marriage which include the two having separate apartments. Andre then tries to make his wife jealous in order to lure her into his bedroom.



59 Tie ) Main Street on the March!

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel (Win)

The film begins in the spring of 1940, just before the Nazi occupation of the Benelux countries, and ends immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. It chronicles how the people of “Main Street America”, the country’s military forces, and its industrial base were completely transformed when the decision was made to gear up for war. Original footage is interspersed with contemporary newsreels and stock footage.



59 Tie ) Rhythm in the Ranks


Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

A toy soldier, distracted by a beautiful ice skater, is derelict in his duty and gets discharged. Later, when the screwball army declares war, he lucks into a chance to redeem himself.



58 ) Skylark

Nominated For:

  • Best Sound, Recording

As her fifth wedding anniversary approaches, a woman realizes that she is fed up with always coming in second to her husband’s advertising business. Just at the moment when she is trying to decide what to do, she meets a handsome attorney, and their innocent flirtation begins to turn into something a bit more serious.

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55 Tie ) Churchill’s Island


Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary (Win)

The people of Britain resist the German air force and navy with help from North America.



55 Tie ) Sis Hopkins


Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White

An unsophisticated farm girl enrolls in college and stars in the campus musical.

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55 Tie ) The Men in Her Life


Nominated For:

  • Best Sound, Recording

A circus performer becomes a ballerina and then begins her life of a career versus marriage and a home-life. She marries her first husband, her mentor and instructor, primarily out of gratitude. After his death, she marries an American thinking that can be her escape from the world of ballet. But she leaves him to return the dancing. She has a child but does not tell her husband. When her daughter is two-years-old, the husband finds out and takes the child to America. The ballerina continues to dance until her best dancing days have gone by.

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54 ) Tall, Dark and Handsome


Nominated For:

  • Best Writing, Original Screenplay

Robin Hoodish gangster in 1929 Chicago is an object of affection, kind to New York hood and bad to a bad crook.

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53 ) Birth of the Blues


Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

Jeff grows up near Basin Street in New Orleans, playing his clarinet with the dock workers. He puts together a band, the Basin Street Hot-Shots, which includes a cornet player, Memphis. They struggle to get their jazz music accepted by the cafe society of the city. Betty Lou joins their band as a singer and gets Louie to show her how to do scat singing. Memphis and Jeff both fall in love with Betty Lou.

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52 ) Cheers for Miss Bishop


Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

Ella Bishop is an inhibited girl whose frustrations grow as she approaches womanhood. As a women, her ambitions to teach cause her to lose her only opportunity for true love. Ella’s life becomes one of missed chances and wrong choices. As she reaches old age, she reflects back and realizes she allowed the years to go by without achieving what she believes to be her true fulfillment. However, her years have not been without glory, and her moment of triumph arrives when her numerous now-famous students from over the years, return to honor their beloved Miss Bishop.

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51 ) The Son of Monte Cristo

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White

In 1865, General Gurko Lanen is dictator of “Lichtenburg” in the Balkans. Rightful ruler Zona hopes to get aid from Napoleon III of France. The visiting Count of Monte Cristo falls for Zona and undertakes to help her, masquerading as a foppish banker and a masked freedom fighter. The rest is rapid-fire intrigue and derring-do.

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49 Tie ) Back Street

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

Previously filmed in 1932, and remade a third time in 1961, this second film version of Fannie Hurst’s novel stars Margaret Sullavan as a fashion designer in love with a married banker (Charles Boyer). Directed by Robert Stevenson, the film also stars Richard Carlson, Tim Holt, Frank McHugh, Esther Dale and Cecil Cunningham.



49 Tie ) Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt


Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

Bugs Bunny is hunted by Hiawatha, a stereotyped Native American who fills roughly the same role as Elmer Fudd in other Bugs Bunny cartoons of this era.

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47 Tie ) A Yank in the R.A.F.

Nominated For:

  • Best Effects, Special Effects

Tyrone Power is a pilots’ pilot, but he doesn’t believe in anything beyond his own abilities. He gets into trouble by flying a new fighter directly to Canada instead of to New York and letting it be towed across as the law demands, but is offered a new job ferrying bombers to war torn England. While on a layover he finds Betty Grable, an old flame, has joined the RAF as a WREN in her attempt to fight for democracy. Power joins up to impress her and in the course of his several missions begins to develope an understanding of what they are fighting for.

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47 Tie ) Louisiana Purchase

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color
  • Best Cinematography, Color

A bumbling senator investigating graft in Louisiana is the target of a scheme involving a Viennese beauty.

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46 ) Christmas Under Fire

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary

How Britain coped with a Christmas during the war.



45 ) When Ladies Meet

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White

Mary, a writer working on a novel about a love triangle, is attracted to her publisher. Her suitor Jimmy is determined to break them up; he introduces Mary to the publisher’s wife without telling Mary who she is.

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44 ) Dive Bomber

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Color

A military surgeon teams with a ranking navy flyer to develop a high-altitude suit which will protect pilots from blacking out when they go into a steep dive.

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43 ) Lydia

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

Lydia MacMillan, a wealthy old woman who has never married, invites several men her own age to her home to reminisce about the times when they were young and courted her. In memory, each romance seemed splendid and destined for happiness, but in each case, Lydia realizes, the truth was less romantic, and ill-starred.

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42 ) You’ll Never Get Rich

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

A Broadway choreographer (Fred Astaire) gets drafted and puts on a GI show with his girlfriend (Rita Hayworth) and producer (Robert Benchley).

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40 Tie ) A Letter from Home

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary

1941 Oscar nominated short documentary



40 Tie ) Lady Be Good

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song (Win)

Married songwriters almost split up while putting on a big show.

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39 ) Speaking of Animals Down on the Farm

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

Part of Tex Avery’s “Speaking of Animals” series of animated shorts. A collection of puns, sight gags and slapstick jokes involving pigs, cows, chickens and other animals on a farm.



38 ) That Uncertain Feeling

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

A happily married woman sees a psychoanalyst and develops doubts about her husband.

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37 ) The Flame of New Orleans

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White

In old New Orleans, a beautiful adventuress juggles the attentions of a rich banker and a dashing sea captain.

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36 ) Lend a Paw

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons (Win)

Pluto’s conscience becomes the battleground when he saves a small kitten from drowning and then has second thoughts when Mickey welcomes it into his home.



35 ) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

Dr. Jekyll believes good and evil exist in everyone and creates a potion that allows his evil side, Mr. Hyde, to come to the fore. He faces horrible consequences when he lets his dark side run amok.

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34 ) Blossoms in the Dust

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color (Win)
  • Best Cinematography, Color
  • Best Picture

Edna marries Texan Sam Gladney, operator of a wheat mill. They have a son, who is killed when very young. Edna discovers by chance how the law treats children who are without parents and decides to do something about it. She opens a home for foundlings and orphans and begins to place children in good homes, despite the opposition of “conservative” citizens, who would condemn illegitimate children for being born out of wedlock. Eventually Edna leads a fight in the Texas legislature to remove the stigma of illegitimacy from birth records in that state, while continuing to be an advocate for homeless children.

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33 ) Rhapsody in Rivets

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

A construction foreman conducts his workers like a symphony orchestra as they build a skyscraper to Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.”



32 ) Tom, Dick and Harry

Nominated For:

  • Best Writing, Original Screenplay

Ginger Rogers, a telephone operator, is pursued by George Murphy (a down-to earth fellow), Alan Marshal (a rich man) and Burgess Meredith (a noncomformist). She dreams what life would be life married to each of them.

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31 ) Blues in the Night

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song

Members of a traveling jazz band try to keep their talented leader from dying after he breaks from the band and begins drinking and taking drugs.

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30 ) So Ends Our Night

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

An anti-Nazi on the run and a young Jewish couple race across Europe trying to escape Hitler’s ever powerful influence.

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29 ) One Foot in Heaven

Nominated For:

  • Best Picture

Episodic look at the life of a minister and his family as they move from one parish to another.



28 ) Truant Officer Donald

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

Donald catches his nephews swimming on a school day. He thinks he’s made an easy catch, but the boys are much more resourceful than that. When he tries to smoke them out of their clubhouse, they put three roast turkeys in their bed and dress one boy as an angel.

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27 ) Ladies in Retirement

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture

In this gothic tale, a housekeeper tries to juggle taking care of a retired actress and keeping an eye on her two sisters.

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26 ) The Great Lie

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Win)

Days after Sandra and Pete elope, they discover their consummated union isn’t valid since, unbeknownst to them, Sandra’s divorce isn’t yet final. They decide to not stay together, but, by then, Sandra is pregnant. She doesn’t learn that fact until after Pete marries his former fiancee Maggie. Pete, unaware of the baby, flies to South America on business. While there, a flight he is on goes missing and all onboard are presumed dead. Maggie persuades Sandra to let her adopt the baby, so she can raise it as Pete’s legitimate child. Months later Pete – alive after all – returns. Sandra and Maggie contend for him and the baby.

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25 ) Blood and Sand

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Color
  • Best Cinematography, Color (Win)

Bullfighter Juan Gallardo falls for socialite Dona Sol, turning from the faithful Carmen who nevertheless stands by her man as he continues to face real danger in the bullring.

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24 ) Penny Serenade

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role

A light-hearted romantic drama starring Cary Grant & Irene Dunne as a couple who meet, fall in love, quarrel and reunite. While listening to a recording of “Penny Serenade”, Julie Gardiner Adams (Irene Dunne) begins reflecting on her past. She recalls her impulsive marriage to newspaper reporter Roger Adams (Carey Grant), which begins on a deliriously happy note but turns out to be fraught with tragedy. Other songs remind her of their courtship, their marriage, their desire for a child, and the joys and sorrows they have shared. A flood of memories come back to her as she ponders on their present problems and how they arose.

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23 ) Buck Privates

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

Petty con artists, Bud & Lou mistakenly join the Army evading the cops. The cop chasing them winds up as their drill instructor. A rich young man and his former working class chauffeur are not only in the same unit, they’re vying for a pretty girl who seems attracted to both.

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22 ) The Night Before Christmas

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons


21 ) Topper Returns

Nominated For:

  • Best Effects, Special Effects
  • Best Sound, Recording

Topper is once again tormented by a fun-loving spirit. This time, it’s Gail Richards, who was accidentally murdered while vacationing at the home of her wealthy friend, Ann Carrington (Landis), the intended victim. With Topper’s help, Gail sets out to find her killer with the expected zany results.

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20 ) Sun Valley Serenade

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Best Music, Original Song
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

Skating star Sonja Henie and the Glenn Miller Orchestra share the spotlight in Sun Valley Serenade. Henie plays a Norwegian refugee adopted by band pianist John Payne, who mistakenly thought that the full-grown Miss Henie was a 10-year-old little girl. Payne’s girlfriend, Lynn Bari, is a soloist with the Miller band, and also a violently jealous sort. When Bari quits Miller out of pique, Henie stages an elaborate ice show as a substitute. This impromptu spectacular thrills the audience at the Sun Valley resort hotel where most of the action takes place. Joan Davis and Milton Berle provide comic relief to the music and romance (you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Berle on skis), while The Nicholas Brothers and Dorothy Dandridge perform a lively chorus of “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

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19 ) Dumbo

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture (Win)

Dumbo is a baby elephant born with oversized ears and a supreme lack of confidence. But thanks to his even more diminutive buddy — Timothy the Mouse — the pint-sized pachyderm learns to surmount all obstacles.

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18 ) Night Train to Munich

Nominated For:

  • Best Writing, Original Story

When the Germans march into Prague, armour-plating inventor Dr Bomasch flees to England. His daughter Anna escapes from arrest to join him, but the Gestapo manage to kidnap them both back to Berlin. As war looms, British secret service agent Gus Bennet follows disguised as a senior German army officer. His ploy — not unpleasant one — is pretending to woo Anna to the German cause.

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17 ) The Sea Wolf

Nominated For:

  • Best Effects, Special Effects

Shipwrecked fugitives try to escape a brutal sea captain who’s losing his mind.

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16 ) Suspicion

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role (Win)
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
  • Best Picture

Wealthy, sheltered Lina McLaidlaw is swept off her feet by charming ne’er-do-well Johnnie Aysgarth. Though warned that Johnnie is little more than a fortune hunter, Lina marries him anyway. She remains loyal to her irresponsible husband as he plows his way from one disreputable business scheme to another. Gradually Lina comes to the conclusion that Johnnie intends to kill her in order to collect her inheritance. The suspicion seems confirmed when Johnnie’s business partner dies under mysterious circumstances. Joan Fontaine won a Best Actress Academy Award for her performance.

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15 ) Superman

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

More than just a landmark in superhero animation, Max Fleischer’s Superman shorts were no less than the foundation for so many shows that succeeded it. Playing in theaters in 1941-42, only a few years after the Man of Steel made his debut in Action Comics, these 17 exciting films were produced by Fleischer and made famous the phrase “This looks like a job for Superman!” At 10 minutes, each film had just enough time to run the opening credits, establish the threat, let Lois Lane make a headstrong rush into peril, and allow Clark Kent to change to his alter ego and save the day. The films show a remarkably dynamic and atmospheric storytelling style that enables them to hold up for modern viewers. At first the films followed a science fiction-fantasy theme, but not unexpectedly for that time soon focused on wartime concerns.

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14 ) That Hamilton Woman

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White
  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Best Effects, Special Effects
  • Best Sound, Recording (Win)

Sir William Hamilton, a widower of mature years, is British ambassador to the Court of Naples. Emma who comes for a visit with her mother wouldn’t cut the grade with London society but she gets along well with the Queen of Naples. Emma likes being Lady Hamilton and life goes smoothly until Lord Nelson pays a visit. Sir William decides at first to let his young wife have her fling and pretends not to know what is going on. But the real life lovers, whose first screen romance was in “Fire Over England” (1937) have an even more burning passion for each other in this film.



13 ) Meet John Doe

Nominated For:

  • Best Writing, Original Story

As a parting shot, fired reporter Ann Mitchell prints a fake letter from unemployed “John Doe,” who threatens suicide in protest of social ills. The paper is forced to rehire Ann and hires John Willoughby to impersonate “Doe.” Ann and her bosses cynically milk the story for all it’s worth, until the made-up “John Doe” philosophy starts a whole political movement.

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11 Tie ) Sergeant York

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role (Win)
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White
  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Best Director
  • Best Film Editing (Win)
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
  • Best Picture
  • Best Sound, Recording
  • Best Writing, Original Screenplay

Alvin York a hillbilly sharpshooter transforms himself from ruffian to religious pacifist. He is then called to serve his country and despite deep religious and moral objections to fighting becomes one of the most celebrated American heroes of WWI.

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11 Tie ) The Strawberry Blonde

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

Biff Grimes is desperately in love with Virginia, but his best friend Hugo marries her and manipulates Biff into becoming involved in his somewhat nefarious businesses. Hugo appears to have stolen Biff’s dreams, and Biff has to deal with the realisation that having what he wants and wanting what another has can be very different things.

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9 Tie ) Hold Back the Dawn

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White
  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
  • Best Picture
  • Best Writing, Screenplay

Romanian-French gigolo Georges Iscovescu wishes to enter the USA. Stopped in Mexico by the quota system, he decides to marry an American, then desert her and join his old partner Anita, who’s done likewise. But after sweeping teacher Emmy Brown off her feet, he finds her so sweet that love and jealousy endanger his plans.

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9 Tie ) How Green Was My Valley

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Win)
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White (Win)
  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (Win)
  • Best Director (Win)
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
  • Best Picture (Win)
  • Best Sound, Recording
  • Best Writing, Screenplay

At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the Morgans (he stern, she gentle) raise coal-mining sons and hope their youngest will find a better life. Lots of atmosphere, very sentimental view of pre-union miners’ lives. The film is based on the 1939 Richard Llewellyn novel of the same name.

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8 ) Here Comes Mr. Jordan

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Best Director
  • Best Picture
  • Best Writing, Original Story (Win)
  • Best Writing, Screenplay (Win)

Boxer Joe Pendleton, flying to his next fight, crashes…because a Heavenly Messenger, new on the job, snatched Joe’s spirit prematurely from his body. Before the matter can be rectified, Joe’s body is cremated; so the celestial Mr. Jordan grants him the use of the body of wealthy Bruce Farnsworth, who’s just been murdered by his wife. Joe tries to remake Farnsworth’s unworthy life in his own clean-cut image, but then falls in love; and what about that murderous wife?

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7 ) The Devil and Daniel Webster

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture (Win)

The wealthiest man in the world, John P. Merrick, is a private person who likes to stay anonymous. One of his many assets, so small that he didn’t even knew that he owned it, is Neeley’s Department Store. There is labor unrest at the store, and the employees’ anger is directed at Merrick, who they hang in effigy outside the store despite not knowing what he looks like. Merrick, not happy at what he sees going on, decides to mete out the rabble-rousers. So he goes undercover as a sales clerk, Thomas Higgins, in the shoe department. However, he soon befriends many of the employees and begins to see things from their point of view.

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6 ) The Devil and Miss Jones

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Writing, Original Screenplay

A former Navy man attempts to redeem his honor by exposing a shipping tycoon’s dealings with the enemy.

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5 ) The Lady Eve

Nominated For:

  • Best Writing, Original Story

It’s no accident when wealthy Charles falls for Jean. Jean is a con artist with her sights set on Charles’ fortune. Matters complicate when Jean starts falling for her mark. When Charles suspects Jean is a gold digger, he dumps her. Jean, fixated on revenge and still pining for the millionaire, devises a plan to get back in Charles’ life. With love and payback on her mind, she re-introduces herself to Charles, this time as an aristocrat named Lady Eve Sidwich.

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3 Tie ) Ball of Fire

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
  • Best Sound, Recording
  • Best Writing, Original Story

A group of academics have spent years shut up in a house working on the definitive encyclopedia. When one of them discovers that his entry on slang is hopelessly outdated, he ventures into the wide world to learn about the evolving language. Here he meets Sugarpuss O’Shea, a nightclub singer, who’s on top of all the slang and, it just so happens, needs a place to stay.

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3 Tie ) The Little Foxes

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White
  • Best Director
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
  • Best Picture
  • Best Writing, Screenplay

The ruthless, moneyed Hubbard clan lives in, and poisons, their part of the deep South at the turn of the 20th century. Regina Giddons née Hubbard has her daughter under her thumb. Mrs. Giddons is estranged from her husband, who is convalescing in Baltimore and suffers from a terminal illness. But she needs him home, and will manipulate her daughter to help bring him back. She has a sneaky business deal that she’s cooking up with her two elder brothers, Oscar and Ben. Oscar has a flighty, unhappy wife and a dishonest worm of a son. Will the daughter have to marry this contemptible cousin? Who will she grow up to be – her mother or her aunt? Or can she escape the fate of both?

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2 ) The Maltese Falcon

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Picture
  • Best Writing, Screenplay

A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

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1 ) Citizen Kane

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Black-and-White
  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Best Director
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic Picture
  • Best Picture
  • Best Sound, Recording
  • Best Writing, Original Screenplay (Win)

Newspaper magnate, Charles Foster Kane is taken from his mother as a boy and made the ward of a rich industrialist. As a result, every well-meaning, tyrannical or self-destructive move he makes for the rest of his life appears in some way to be a reaction to that deeply wounding event.

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The Best 1942 Academy Award Rankings



1942 Academy Award Rankings

Film RT Critic RT User IMDB Letterboxd Overal Rank
Citizen Kane 1 4 1 1 1
The Maltese Falcon 1 3 3 2 2
Ball of Fire 1 4 6 3 3
The Little Foxes 1 6 2 5 3
The Lady Eve 1 7 4 3 5
The Devil and Miss Jones 1 9 6 7 6
The Devil and Daniel Webster 1 12 6 7 7
Here Comes Mr. Jordan 1 12 11 7 8
Hold Back the Dawn 1 20 13 13 9
How Green Was My Valley 20 16 6 5 9
Sergeant York 22 7 6 13 11
The Strawberry Blonde 1 23 17 7 11
Meet John Doe 21 12 11 7 13
That Hamilton Woman 1 10 21 20 14
Superman 26 1 17 13 15
Suspicion 17 18 17 13 16
The Sea Wolf 26 17 13 13 17
Night Train to Munich 18 24 21 13 18
Dumbo 16 28 21 13 19
Sun Valley Serenade 26 10 21 24 20
Topper Returns 1 15 33 33 21
The Night Before Christmas 26 50 4 7 22
Buck Privates 26 21 21 20 23
Penny Serenade 18 22 27 24 24
Blood and Sand 1 29 33 33 25
The Great Lie 26 26 21 24 26
Ladies in Retirement 26 26 29 20 27
Truant Officer Donald 26 50 13 24 28
One Foot in Heaven 1 35 29 49 29
So Ends Our Night 26 1 37 52 30
Blues in the Night 26 32 37 24 31
Tom, Dick and Harry 1 39 48 33 32
Rhapsody in Rivets 26 50 27 20 33
Blossoms in the Dust 25 24 33 42 34
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 23 31 37 33 35
Lend a Paw 26 50 29 24 36
The Flame of New Orleans 26 32 48 24 37
That Uncertain Feeling 24 34 41 33 38
Speaking of Animals Down on the Farm 26 50 13 52 39
A Letter from Home 26 50 17 52 40
Lady Be Good 26 41 54 24 40
You’ll Never Get Rich 26 50 37 33 42
Lydia 26 38 54 33 43
Dive Bomber 26 36 48 42 44
When Ladies Meet 26 37 66 24 45
Christmas Under Fire 26 50 29 52 46
A Yank in the R.A.F. 26 45 54 33 47
Louisiana Purchase 26 18 62 52 47
Back Street 26 50 33 52 49
Hiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt 26 50 43 42 49
The Son of Monte Cristo 26 42 62 33 51
Cheers for Miss Bishop 26 44 43 52 52
Birth of the Blues 26 29 59 52 53
Tall, Dark and Handsome 26 50 41 52 54
Churchill’s Island 26 50 43 52 55
Sis Hopkins 26 50 43 52 55
The Men in Her Life 26 50 43 52 55
Skylark 26 50 54 42 58
Appointment for Love 26 50 48 52 59
Main Street on the March! 26 50 48 52 59
Rhythm in the Ranks 26 50 48 52 59
Of Pups and Puzzles 26 50 54 52 62
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company ‘B’ 26 50 66 42 63
A Place to Live 26 50 59 52 64
The Rookie Bear 26 50 59 52 64
The Chocolate Soldier 26 45 66 52 66
Flight Command 26 50 62 52 67
I Wanted Wings 26 50 62 52 67
Army Champions 26 50 66 52 69
Forbidden Passage 26 50 66 52 69
Ridin’ on a Rainbow 26 50 66 52 69
Tanks a Million 26 50 66 52 69
Billy the Kid 26 43 79 47 73
The Invisible Woman 26 47 73 50 74
Sundown 26 48 77 47 75
Aloma of the South Seas 26 50 74 52 76
The Devil Pays Off 26 50 75 52 76
How War Came 26 50 76 52 78
King of the Zombies 26 40 88 51 79
Warclouds in the Pacific 26 50 77 52 79
This Woman Is Mine 26 50 79 52 81
Ice-Capades 26 50 81 52 82
Las Vegas Nights 26 50 81 52 82
The Gay Parisian 26 50 81 52 82
The Tanks Are Coming 26 50 81 52 82
Sunny 26 49 85 52 86
Forty Boys and a Song 26 50 85 52 87
Kings of the Turf 26 50 87 52 88
All-American Co-Ed 26 50 89 52 89
Bomber 26 50 90 52 90
Mercy Island 26 50 90 52 90
Adventure in the Bronx 26 50 92 52 92
Alive in the Deep 26 50 93 52 93
Beauty and the Beach 26 50 93 52 93
Life of a Thoroughbred 26 50 93 52 93
Norway in Revolt 26 50 93 52 93
Russian Soil 26 50 93 52 93
Sagebrush and Silver 26 50 93 52 93
Soldiers of the Sky 26 50 93 52 93

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