17th Academy Awards (3-15-45)

Best Live Action Short Subject, Two-Reel

image “I Won’t Play”, Gordon Hollingshead

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Best Short Subjects – Cartoons

image “Mouse Trouble”, Fred Quimby

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Best Screenplay

image “Going My Way”, Frank Butler & Frank Cavett, based on a story by Leo McCarey

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Best Original Screenplay

image “Wilson”, Lamar Trotti

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Best Original Motion Picture Story

image “Going My Way”, Leo McCarey

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Best Director

image Leo McCarey, “Going My Way”

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Best Motion Picture

image “Going My Way”

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Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award

image Darryl F. Zanuck

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Academy Juvenile Award

image Margaret O’Brien

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Best Supporting Actor

image Barry Fitzgerald, “Going My Way”

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Best Supporting Actress

image Ethel Barrymore, “None But the Lonely Heart”

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Best Actor

image Bing Crosby, “Going My Way”

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Best Actress

image Ingrid Bergman, “Gaslight”

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The Pittsburgh Press (March 16, 1945)

Crosby, Ingrid Bergman win Oscars

Going My Way gets most of awards – veterans of stage take support honors
By Maxine Garrison

HOLLYWOOD – Under shadow of the strike which still threatens to shut down motion picture production, the industry’s leading lights turned out en masse last night for the annual Academy Award presentations at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

They saw the screen’s most unactorish actor, Bing Crosby, take the Oscar for the best male performance of the year, and one of its most reticent actresses, Ingrid Bergman, win similar honors for the women.

There were other pictures on the nominating lists, but you’d hardly have known it from the voting. Paramount’s Going My Way went its way capturing just about all awards in sight.

Fitzgerald honored

Besides Crosby’s award, Barry Fitzgerald was named best supporting actor for his portrayal of Father Fitzgibbon. Going My Way was chosen best picture of the year. Leo McCarey took one award for direction on the picture and another for turning out the beat original story. Scripters Frank Butler and Cavett got the best-written screenplay credit, and songwriters James Van Heusen and Johnny Burke had statues to show for “Swinging on a Star.”

Demonstration for Ingrid

Ingrid Bergman’s recognition for her performance in MGM’s Gaslight was considered long overdue, to judge by the vociferous applause which greeted her call to the stage.

Darryl F. Zanuck’s and 20th Century Fox’s Wilson won several awards for technical achievement, and Norma Shearer gave Mr. Zanuck the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for efforts as individual producer.

A surprise presentation was the award of a junior-size Oscar to flabbergasted Margaret O’Brien as the year’s outstanding child actor. Other top awards went to Ethel Barrymore for her fine supporting performance in RKO’s None but the Lonely Heart, and to Lamar Trotti and Leon Shamroy for the original screenplay and photography respectively on Wilson.

Brilliant affair

Despite the pall of uncertainty caused by the set decorators’ strike, which has the entire industry nervous, the Academy Award program still was the most brilliant event of the year. Just plain fans, lucky enough to get tickets, mixed with movie greats inside the theater and more thousands of fans waited outside. Many of the latter had been sitting since 4 o’clock in hastily constructed bleachers beside and opposite the theater. They lined up as planks were laid for grandstands, filled each plank the minute it was put down, and stayed throughout the evening. Most of them came prepared with box lunches.

Spectators inside the theater witnessed for the first time presentations accompanied by a montage of scenes from films nominated for awards, an idea introduced and put into effect by Mark Sandrich, Paramount producer who died suddenly about 10 days ago.

‘Archie,’ Hope are MCs

Craning of necks inside the theater as celebrities sought to identify each other and carried on tete-a-tete conversations over several rows of seats equaled any antics of the curious outsiders.

Radio comedian Ed Gardner served as master of ceremonies for the early part of the show, with Bob Hope taking over when proceedings went on the air.

Adm. DeWitt Clinton Ramsay and Assistant Secretary of Navy Gates accepted the Oscar given 20th Century Fox for Fighting Lady and handed on by the studio to the World’s Greatest Navy. With the Marines at Tarawa was also honored. MGM’s Mouse Trouble, Warners’ I Won’t Play, and Paramount’s Who’s Who in Animal Land, took awards for best cartoons.

Recognition went to Wilson for film editing, sound recording, art direction and interior decoration. Besides those already mentioned, MGM’s Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo was named for special effects; Gaslight for art direction; Laura for black-and-white photography, and Columbia’s Cover Girl and Selznick International’s Since You Went Away for musical scoring.

Tension mounted in the theater as the time neared for award of acting Oscars, most coveted pieces of pottery in the world.

Hope gets nervous

Acting awards as usual were presented by winners of former years. Charles Coburn told Barry Fitzgerald that if he weren’t Charles Coburn, he’d rather be Barry Fitzgerald than anybody else in the world. In Ethel Barrymore’s absence, Charles Koerner of RKO received her award from Teresa Wright.

When it was time for best actor and actress awards, Bob Hope suddenly lost his gift of gab. Close friend of Bing’s, he said, “Look, folks, I can’t make any jokes – I’m too nervous.”

Gary Cooper ambled onto the stage, nervously opened the envelope, and then the famous Cooper twinkle broke forth full force as he called for Bing to step up and take his prize.

Bing equal to the occasion

Even at that moment, Der Bingle was not at a loss for an answer.

He said:

It proves that this is still a land of equal opportunity for all. When a guy like Leo McCarey can take a broken-down crooner like me by the hand and lead me to this piece of happy crockery.

Now, if someone will just find me a horse to win the Kentucky Derby…

But quiet Ingrid Bergman topped even Bing. As she received her Oscar from Jennifer Jones, Ingrid said:

I’m so relieved. I’m making Bells of St. Mary with Bing Crosby and Leo McCarey. And if I hadn’t gotten this, I’m afraid they wouldn’t even have spoken to me at work tomorrow.