Academy Award Rankings

Ranking All The Movies Nominated At The 21st Academy Awards In 1949

21st Academy Awards held in 1949

“What are the best movies nominated for the 21st Academy Awards held in 1949?” We looked at all 52 movies nominated for an Oscar in 1949 and ranked them again one another to answer that very question!

We took all 52 movies that were nominated for an Academy Award in 1949 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 1949 Academy Award Movie Rankings



50 (Tie) ) Cinderella Horse

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

Oscar nominated short film



50 (Tie) ) Samba-Mania

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel

Night club owner Russ Vincent hires boogie-woogie dancer Betty Hannon for a spot in a South American revue headed by Lita Baron (as Isabelita.) The latter is wary of Hannon’s motives, but Vincent dismisses her feelings as jealousy.



50 (Tie) ) Snow Capers

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel

1948 short film nominated for an Oscar in the category “Best Short Subject, Two-reel”.



49 ) Heart to Heart

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary, Short Subjects

This Theatre of Life short focuses on heart disease, and how bad diet, lack of exercise, and the stress of fast-paced living contribute to the rising rates of heart disease and heart attacks.



47 (Tie) ) Calgary Stampede

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel

The pageantry of Calgary’s colorful celebration of its past, culminating with its world famous rodeo, is chronicled.

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47 (Tie) ) You Can’t Win

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

In this comedic Pete Smith Specialty short film, a homeowner experiences a series of mishaps while taking a day off from the office.



46 ) Operation Vittles

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary, Short Subjects

1948 Oscar nominated short documentary



45 ) That Lady in Ermine

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song

Circa 1861, Angelina, ruling countess of an Italian principality, is at a loss when invaded by a Hungarian army. Her lookalike ancestress Francesca, who saved a similar situation 300 years before, comes to life from a portrait to help her descendant. Complicating factor: the newlywed countess feels strangely drawn to the handsome invader…

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42 (Tie) ) Annie Was a Wonder

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

In this entry in the Passing Parade series, narrator John Nesbitt tells the story of Annie Swenson, who worked as a cook/housekeeper in the Nesbitt home when he was growing up. Annie was one of thousands of Scandinavian immigrant girls who came to America in the early years of the 20th century in search of a better life.



42 (Tie) ) Casbah

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song

Pepe Le Moko (Tony Martin) leads a gang of jewel thieves in the Casbah of Algiers, where he has exiled himself to escape imprisonment in his native France.

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42 (Tie) ) Green Grass of Wyoming

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Color

The romance of a rancher’s (Charles Coburn) niece (Peggy Cummins) and a rival rancher’s son (Robert Arthur) parallels that of a stallion and a mare.



40 (Tie) ) The Emperor Waltz

Nominated For:

  • Best Costume Design, Color
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

At the turn of the 20th century, travelling salesman Virgil Smith journeys to Vienna in the hope he can sell a gramophone to Emperor Franz Joseph, whose purchase of the recent American invention could spur its popularity in Austria.



40 (Tie) ) Toward Independence

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary, Short Subjects (Win)

Oscar Winning documentary short subject



39 ) B.F.’s Daughter

Nominated For:

  • Best Costume Design, Black-and-White

Wealthy Polly Fulton marries a progressive scholar whose attitudes toward capitalism and acquired wealth puts their marriage in jeopardy.

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37 (Tie) ) So You Want to Be on the Radio

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel

Joe McDoakes and his wife love to participate in radio show contests, but something seems to interfere every time they are lucky enough to be chosen as participants.



37 (Tie) ) When My Baby Smiles at Me

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

Bonny Kane and ‘Skid’ Johnson are vaudeville performers in the 1920s. The two of them suffer marital difficulties when Skid gets an offer to appear on Broadway while Bonny gets left behind on the road. Things get worse with Skid’s increasing drinking problem and the fact that the press has reported him to be spending a lot of time with his pretty co-star.

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34 (Tie) ) Deep Waters

Nominated For:

  • Best Effects, Special Effects

A state welfare agent (Jean Peters) persuades a Maine lobsterman (Dana Andrews) to take a troubled orphan boy (Dean Stockwell) aboard.

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34 (Tie) ) Going to Blazes!

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel

This Theatre of Life series short, produced with the cooperation of the Los Angeles Fire Department, emphasizes fire safety and fire prevention. It gives a behind-the-scenes look at the switching system used to dispatch the proper equipment to fires, as well as a look at life in the fire station and fire fighter training.



34 (Tie) ) The Quiet One

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary, Features

A documentary account of the rehabilitation at the Wiltwyck School of an emotionally disturbed Black boy who is unwanted, misunderstood, and inwardly tortured.



33 ) Joan of Arc

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color
  • Best Cinematography, Color (Win)
  • Best Costume Design, Color (Win)
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture

In the Fifteenth Century, France is a defeated and ruined nation after the One Hundred Years War against England. The fourteen years old farm girl Joan of Arc claims to hear voices from Heaven asking her to lead God’s Army against Orleans and crowning the weak Dauphin Charles VII as King of France. Joan gathers the people with her faith, forms an army and conquerors Orleans. When her army is ready to attack Paris, the corrupt Charles sells his country to England and dismiss the army. Joan is arrested, sold to the Burgundians England and submitted to a shameful political trial in Rouen castle.

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31 (Tie) ) Robin Hoodlum

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

Fox is Robin Hoodlum and the Crow is the Sheriff pursuing R. Hoodlum and his merry band. He escapes one trap after another until he is lured into an archery contest at the Palace—everybody plays the Palace sooner or later—and gets caught.



31 (Tie) ) Wet Blanket Policy

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song

Woody Woodpecker buys life insurance with the benifactor being Buzz Buzzard who wants to collect early.



30 ) The Loves of Carmen

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Color

Gypsy Carmen drives men wild in 1820s Spain, especially the dragoon Don Jose.

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27 (Tie) ) Rhythm of a City

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, One-reel (Win)

Short documentary from Sweden that won an Oscar in the category “Best Short Subject, One-reel.”



27 (Tie) ) The Luck of the Irish

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Following American reporter Stephen Fitzgerald from Ireland to New York, a grateful leprechaun acts as the newsman’s servant and conscience.

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27 (Tie) ) The Secret Land

Nominated For:

  • Best Documentary, Features (Win)

This documentary, filmed entirely by military photographers, recounts the U.S. Navy’s 1946-47 expedition to Antarctica, known as Operation High Jump. The expedition was under the overall command of Admiral Richard E. Byrd, no stranger to the Antarctic. This was a large undertaking involving 13 ships and over 4000 thousand men. The fleet departed from Norfolk, Virginia traveling through the Panama canal and then southward to their final destination. The trip through the ice pack was fraught with danger and forced the submarine that was part of the fleet to withdraw. The trip was a success meeting all of its scientific goals.

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26 ) Seal Island

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Two-reel (Win)

Seal Island is a 1948 American documentary film directed by James Algar. It won an Academy Award in 1949 for Best Short Subject (Two-Reel).



25 ) Louisiana Story

Nominated For:

  • Best Writing, Motion Picture Story

The idyllic life of a young Cajun boy and his pet raccoon is disrupted when the tranquility of the bayou is broken by an oil well drilling near his home.

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24 ) Tea for Two Hundred

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

Donald is preparing a little picnic when he sees some ants passing by. He decides to tease one, ultimately by piling lots of food onto it. The ant eventually stumbles, but realizes Donald is sitting on a veritable gold mine. He rallies his fellow ants, and while Donald is napping, they cart him to a cliff and drop him into the river. When he returns to the raid in progress, he finds himself powerless to stop it. He dynamites the ant hill, but that only separates the ledge he’s standing on, and he finds himself in the river again as the ants finish off a cupcake.



23 ) Mickey and the Seal

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

Mickey visits the zoo, where he makes friends with a baby seal by feeding it a couple of fish from his picnic basket. The seal stows away and goes home with Mickey, where for a while, only Pluto sees it. But it climbs into Mickey’s bath, and he eventually figures it out and returns the tot. He tells his elders of the wonders of Mickey’s bath and scrub-brush, and Mickey returns home to find a welcoming committee.

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22 ) Romance on the High Seas

Nominated For:

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

Elvira is supposed to go on a cruise, but decides to stay home when she suspects her husband is cheating on her. Her husband suspects the same of his wife, and sends an investigator to spy on her on the cruise – but he is really spying on Elvira’s husband.

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21 ) The Three Musketeers

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Color

The hectic adventures of D’Artagnan, a young provincial noble who just comes to Paris to enter the musketeers. He will meet action, love, hate, the king and the queen as his impetuousness gets him involved in political plots… and of course virile and indestructible friendship with the three musketeers Athos, Porthos and Aramis. Written by Yepok

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20 ) The Paleface

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Original Song (Win)

Bob Hope stars in this laugh-packed wild west spoof co-starring Jane Russell as a sexy Calamity Jane, Hope is a meek frontier dentist, “Painless” Peter Potter, who finds himself gunslinging alongside the fearless Calamity as she fights off outlaws and Indians.

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19 ) The Little Orphan

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons (Win)

The Bide-a-Wee Mouse Home has sent the orphan mouse, Nibbles, to spend Thanksgiving with Jerry. But Jerry’s cupboard is bare, and Nibbles is always hungry. They start by raiding Tom’s milk dish, but Tom wakes up and drains it. Fortunately, Mammy has just put out a huge Thanksgiving feast, just ready for the raiding. And that’s just what Tom and Nibbles do, grabbing Pilgrim hats from the table decorations. All goes fairly well until Nibbles eats a whole orange, which is way too big for him. Jerry smacks him with a spoon, which sends the orange flying, right into Tom’s mouth. Tom stalks up to the table in a feather duster, which turns into an Indian headdress. Battle follows, featuring Tom sending flaming cat-tails after the mice, and culminating in a champagne bottle launching Tom into the dish cabinet, which crashes down. Tom waves a white flag, and all three sit down to a polite dinner, but Nibbles eats the whole turkey before anyone else can touch it.



18 ) The Pirate

Nominated For:

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

A girl is engaged to the local richman, but meanwhile she has dreams about the legendary pirate Macoco. A traveling singer falls in love with her and to impress her he poses as the pirate.

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17 ) Mouse Wreckers

Nominated For:

  • Best Short Subject, Cartoons

Mice Hubie and Bertie drive Claude the cat insane through an escalating series of head games.



16 ) Sitting Pretty

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role

Tacey and Harry King are a suburban couple with three sons and a serious need of a babysitter. Tacey puts an ad in the paper for a live-in babysitter, and the ad is answered by Lynn Belvedere. But when she arrives, she turns out to be a man. And not just any man, but a most eccentric, outrageously forthright genius with seemingly a million careers and experiences behind him.

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15 ) Sorry, Wrong Number

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role

Leona Stevenson is confined to bed and uses her telephone to keep in contact with the outside world. One day she overhears a murder plot on the telephone and is desperate to find out who is the intended victim.

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14 ) A Foreign Affair

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Best Writing, Screenplay

In occupied Berlin, an army captain is torn between an ex-Nazi cafe singer and the U.S. congresswoman investigating her.

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13 ) Easter Parade

Nominated For:

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

On the day before Easter in 1911, Don Hewes is crushed when his dancing partner (and object of affection) Nadine Hale refuses to start a new contract with him. To prove Nadine’s not important to him, Don acquires innocent new protegee Hannah Brown, vowing to make her a star in time for next year’s Easter parade.

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12 ) The Naked City

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White (Win)
  • Best Film Editing (Win)
  • Best Writing, Motion Picture Story

The Naked City portrays the police investigation that follows the murder of a young model. A veteran cop is placed in charge of the case and he sets about, with the help of other beat cops and detectives, finding the girl’s killer.

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11 ) Moonrise

Nominated For:

  • Best Sound, Recording

Danny is being despised by his schoolmates because his father was accused to have killed another man and is condemned to the death penalty.

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10 ) Portrait of Jennie

Nominated For:

  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White
  • Best Effects, Special Effects (Win)

A mysterious girl inspires a struggling artist.

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8 (Tie) ) Hamlet

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role (Win)
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Win)
  • Best Costume Design, Black-and-White (Win)
  • Best Director
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture
  • Best Picture (Win)

Winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Sir Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet continues to be the most compelling version of Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy. Olivier is at his most inspired—both as director and as the melancholy Dane himself—as he breathes new life into the words of one of the world’s greatest dramatists.

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8 (Tie) ) Johnny Belinda

Nominated For:

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

A small-town doctor helps a deaf-mute farm girl learn to communicate.

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7 ) The Snake Pit

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Director
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture
  • Best Picture
  • Best Sound, Recording (Win)
  • Best Writing, Screenplay

Virginia Cunningham is confused upon finding herself in a mental hospital, with no memory of her arrival at the institution. Tormented by delusions and unable to even recognize her husband, Robert, she is treated by Dr. Mark Kik, who is determined to get to the root of her mental illness. As her treatment progresses, flashbacks depict events in Virginia’s life that may have contributed to her instability.

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6 ) I Remember Mama

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Best Cinematography, Black-and-White

The ups and downs of a Norwegian immigrant family, circa 1910.

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5 ) Key Largo

Nominated For:

  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Win)

A hurricane swells outside, but it’s nothing compared to the storm within the hotel at Key Largo. There, sadistic mobster Johnny Rocco holes up – and holds at gunpoint hotel owner James Temple, his widowed daughter-in-law Nora, and ex-GI Frank McCloud.

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4 ) The Search

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Leading Role
  • Best Director
  • Best Writing, Motion Picture Story (Win)
  • Best Writing, Screenplay

In postwar Germany, a displaced Czech boy, separated from his family during wartime, is befriended by an American GI while the boy’s mother desperately searches for him.

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3 ) Red River

Nominated For:

  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Writing, Motion Picture Story

Dunson is driving his cattle to Red River when his adopted son, Matthew, turns against him.

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2 ) The Red Shoes

Nominated For:

  • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color (Win)
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (Win)
  • Best Picture
  • Best Writing, Motion Picture Story

In this classic drama, Vicky Page is an aspiring ballerina torn between her dedication to dance and her desire to love. While her imperious instructor, Boris Lermontov, urges to her to forget anything but ballet, Vicky begins to fall for the charming young composer Julian Craster. Eventually Vicky, under great emotional stress, must choose to pursue either her art or her romance, a decision that carries serious consequences.

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1 ) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Nominated For:

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Win)
  • Best Director (Win)
  • Best Picture
  • Best Writing, Screenplay (Win)

Fred C. Dobbs and Bob Curtin, both down on their luck in Tampico, Mexico in 1925, meet up with a grizzled prospector named Howard and decide to join with him in search of gold in the wilds of central Mexico. Through enormous difficulties, they eventually succeed in finding gold, but bandits, the elements, and most especially greed threaten to turn their success into disaster.

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The Best 21st Academy Award Rankings



1949 Academy Award Rankings

Film RT Critic RT User IMDB Letterboxd Overal Rank
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1 1 1 2 1
The Red Shoes 10 2 1 1 2
Red River 1 6 7 3 3
The Search 1 3 5 9 4
Key Largo 9 4 5 4 5
I Remember Mama 1 7 3 13 6
The Snake Pit 1 10 12 9 7
Hamlet 11 11 7 5 8
Johnny Belinda 14 4 7 9 8
Portrait of Jennie 11 7 12 5 10
Moonrise 1 16 20 5 11
The Naked City 15 12 12 5 12
Easter Parade 13 7 16 9 13
A Foreign Affair 1 14 19 13 14
Sorry, Wrong Number 15 14 16 18 15
Sitting Pretty 22 12 15 18 16
Mouse Wreckers 22 28 7 13 17
The Pirate 19 16 25 13 18
The Little Orphan 22 28 7 18 19
The Paleface 1 19 29 27 20
The Three Musketeers 19 18 20 23 21
Romance on the High Seas 17 21 25 18 22
Mickey and the Seal 22 28 20 13 23
Tea for Two Hundred 22 28 16 18 24
Louisiana Story 17 20 25 24 25
Seal Island 22 28 4 33 26
Rhythm of a City 22 28 20 33 27
The Luck of the Irish 22 25 29 27 27
The Secret Land 22 28 20 33 27
The Loves of Carmen 22 22 39 24 30
Robin Hoodlum 22 28 34 24 31
Wet Blanket Policy 22 28 25 33 31
Joan of Arc 22 22 37 30 33
Deep Waters 22 28 29 33 34
Going to Blazes! 22 28 29 33 34
The Quiet One 22 28 29 33 34
So You Want to Be on the Radio 22 28 34 33 37
When My Baby Smiles at Me 22 28 34 33 37
B.F.’s Daughter 22 27 43 27 39
The Emperor Waltz 21 24 44 32 40
Toward Independence 22 28 38 33 40
Annie Was a Wonder 22 28 39 33 42
Casbah 22 28 39 33 42
Green Grass of Wyoming 22 28 39 33 42
That Lady in Ermine 22 26 46 30 45
Operation Vittles 22 28 45 33 46
Calgary Stampede 22 28 46 33 47
You Can’t Win 22 28 46 33 47
Heart to Heart 22 28 49 33 49
Cinderella Horse 22 28 50 33 50
Samba-Mania 22 28 50 33 50
Snow Capers 22 28 50 33 50

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