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On this day: Howards End, George MacKay, '46 Oscars

A very happy quarter century to one of the best young actors working George Mackay (Captain Fantastic, Pride) born on this day in 1992. We're concocting a little series on young actors to debut soon (since we spend so much time on actresses, we'll throw a little love the other direction soon). But George's birthday isn't the only thing worth celebrating today,

Other things you can celebrate in today's showbiz history are after the jump... 

1898 Oscar nominee Henry Hathaway born in California. He directed westerns like The Sons of Katie Elder and True Grit,  the Marilyn classic Niagara, and his Oscar nomination came from Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935). One of his movies, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine with Fred MacMurray even opened on his birthday in 1936 
1925 Tennessee makes it illegal to teach evolution in school. A law that is later challenged in court resulting in the Scopes "Monkey trial that inspired the play and movie Inherit the Wind

1941 "Cuchi cuchi" Charo was born in Spain this day
1942 The Betty Grable musical comedy Song of the Islands opened
1943 The great French director André Téchiné was born. Have you ever seen Wild Reeds (1994)? I missed his latest Being 17 but I hear it's good.

1947 The 1946 Academy Awards for, Oscar's 19th celebration, crowned The Best Years of Our Lives. One of the greatest winning pictures. Olivia de Havilland wins the first of her two Best Actress Oscars this night, too, for To Each His Own. But she wasn't happy that her sister Joan Fontaine had already beaten her to the golden idol. I'll admit that 1946 is a year I'm really weak on.

1946 Best Actress Nominees. Who would you have voted for that year?  (Rita Hayworth wasn't nominated for Gilda which is bonkers but what can you do?)


  • Olivia de Havilland, To Each His Own ★
  • Celia Johnson, Brief Encounter
  • Jennifer Jones, Duel in the Sun
  • Rosalind Russell, Sister Kenny
  • Jane Wyman, The Yearling


...on that very same day as the Oscars on the opposite coast, the musical Brigadoon opened on Broadway. It would become a Gene Kelly / Cyd Charisse film by 1954 nominated for three Oscars: Art Direction, Costume Design, and Sound Recording

1955 Actress and 80s film fixture Glenne Headly born. It was so great to see her recently in  The Night Of
1956 Emmy winner and past Smackdown guest right here Dana Delany (China Beach, Housesitter, Hand of God, Exit to Eden) born in NYC 
1961 Iconic artist Pablo Picasso marries Jacqueline Roque, one of his many lovers. They're played by Anthony Hopkins and Diane Venora in one of the rare Merchant/Ivory misfires, Surviving Picasso (1996)
1962 Spike Lee's trusted film composer Terence Blanchard born in New Orleans. Oscar has ignored him but he did snag a Globe nomination for one of Lee's best joints, 25th Hour (2002)

1972 Oscar winner Common (Selma's "Glory" was such a grand Original Song winner don'cha think?) was born in Chicago on this day.
1973 A revival of a 1919 musical Irene opens on Broadway starring Debbie Reynolds (Tony nomination). It's had two film adaptations, one silent film (for a musical, huh...) and a 1940 film with Ray Milland and
Anna Neagle which received an Oscar nomination for its score.
1982 TJ Hooker premieres on TV proving there was life for William Shatner after Star Trek
1985 Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) born in California
1987 Sam Raimi's Evil Dead II opens 
1990 Emory Cohen, the worst son in Smash but the perfect boyfriend in Brooklyn, born in NYC

1992 HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY HOWARDS END. The Merchant / Ivory masterpiece Howards End opens in theaters. It goes on to win 3 Oscars but honestly the fact that it didn't win Best Director (James Ivory) and Best Picture is all kinds of messed up. Sorry Unforgiven but, nope.

My Cousin Vinny, which went on to win Best Supporting Actress for Marisa Tomei opened the same day!

The Man in the Iron Mask opens in movie theaters. It was Leonardo DiCaprio's first release post superstardom via Titanic

2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which I'd (still) argue is the best superhero film of the decade (Scarlett Johansson bookended my top ten list that year), premieres in Los Angeles
2020 an Untitled Pixar film will supposedly be released on this day. We hope it's an original since everything scheduled after this November's Coco is a sequel. 

Which of these anniversaries will you be thinking of today? 

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Reader Comments (27)

In 1946 Celia Johnson wins easily for me. The way she switches from joy to heartbreak is enthralling.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom

However, I do think Olivia should have won best supporting actress in 1939, so she would still have two Oscars. No one could come near her greatness that was The Heiress in 1949.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom

celia johnson gets my vote

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Celia Johnson towers above the competition that year. I get that de Havilland was a huge un-honored star at that point, but considering how middling that film is and that The Heiress would soon (deservedly) win her the trophy, it's a pity Johnson couldn't get this one. The only person who comes close to her is Hayworth, and as you pointed out, she was inexplicably forgotten.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Johson for sure even if Lovely Rita was nominated

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAmazingAmy

Celia Johnson is hands down the best actress of that year! That performance still holds up today and one of my all time favorite movies and performances ever! I highly recommend any one who has not seen" Brief Encounter" do so ASAP. That is why it is always on the top ten list of Best British films of all time. Davis Lean could handle small intimate films as well.

Conversely, I am an unadulterated Anglo-file and adore" Howard's End", and the film that made me obsessed with Emma Thompson! She is still one of my favorites and hope she can so some more comedies.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBob W.

Since you're all about Howards End, what are your feelings on The Crying Game?

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

/3rtful Crying Game is Neil Jordan best film to date in my opinion. And Howards End totally beautiful film.. You should go to this site about their coverage of both film http://www.nicksflickpicks.com

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAmazingAmy

Celia Johnson, of course!

And I agree with everything @Tom says re Olivia DeHavilland. Though she was also excellent in 1948's The Snake Pit. But 1948 was tough competition (and Barbara Stanwyck should have WON!)

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPam

As boring as it is to agree with what everything else is saying: Celia Johnson. Easily.

And to say something a tad more controversial: She also would have been my pick if she had been nominated in 1945, the year of 'Brief Encounter's original UK release.

Also, you didn't mention William H. Macy, who turns 66 today. In my universe he's the Best Actor winner of 1996. And I did not forget the word 'Supporting'.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

2 of my top actress performances of all time; Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter, and Emma Thompson in Howard's End. Flawless.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJB

Celia Johnson is clearly our favorite. I am also partial to the never-nominated Myrna Loy in The Best Years of Our Lives. Olivia's win also can be contributed to her return to movies after several years of being kept off-screen due to her landmark lawsuit.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBGK

I don't know how many times I've watched Howards End, listened to the score, etc. It's simply wonderful, through and through. Emma Thompson's win couldn't be more deserved, and I'm right there with you on wishing it'd won Picture and Director as well.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Celia Johnson, of course. One of the best performances I've ever seen.

I love Unforgiven, I love Howards End, but my best picture that year was clearly The Crying Game. Such a riveting movie.

Ivory should have won for The Remains of the Day (yes, over Spielberg and Campion).

(Could we talk about Miranda Richardson someday? Love her).

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I watched To Each His Own recently and it's fine. Olivia is very good in it. But, much like Meryl getting nom-ed this year for her GG anti-Trump speech, I get the sense that Olivia won because of the WB contract lawsuits at the time. But Celia Johnson is just amazing in Brief Encounter. It is a pity she didn't do more screen work.

And don't even get me started on Howard's End losing Best Picture. It's my most grrrr Oscar moment.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

@ Pam - I am on the camp that DeHavilland's Oscar should have been for The Snake Pit. Stanwyck should have won either in 1941 or in 1944 (or in both years).

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

Miranda Richardson does seem to be in some strange "inbetween-land" these days - even on UK TV she rarely appears and never in projects worthy of her talent...

For someone who was a truly fearless and raw actress, it's a shame that she has been a bit forgotten by the industry (Made In Dagenham may have got her a BAFTA nomination but the film was WAY BENEATH HER)...

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

Pam-agreed. Stanwyck not winning is one of those musical chair sequences with Best Actress that you realize happen after the fact, ie it was always going to be Stanwyck, Wyman, Jones, or Bergman who missed a Best Actress statue in the 1940's, but that wasn't obvious at the time.

Personally I wish it'd been Wyman without as she's not really in the same league as the other three, imho.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I've never seen Howard's End (plan to remedy that this year) but saw Unforgiven and was rather underwhelmed (why C Eastwood is considered a great director is one of the mysteries of modern Hollywood). BTW, Howard's End is currently not available on Netflix.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRob

For 1992, I would have gone with the Academy's choice of Unforgiven for Best Picture and Clint for Best Directing, and I still would today. It's a very well-conceived Western, and exciting filmmaking, with a rich, conflicted undertow that adds to its themes of violence and masculinity. It still holds up today. But that's not to take away from Howards End, which is very good too!

For 1946, I've only seen Johnson and Jones. Jones is very good, but Johnson is outstanding, as everyone else has indicated. She's just so good. I still haven't seen The Best Years of Our Lives... Must rectify that soon.

George Mackay has lovely eyes.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I was going to jump in and praise Celia Johnson, but y'all beat me to it!

I've seen BRIEF ENCOUNTER so many times, but not for a few years. Time for a rewatch.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G


All about the George MacKay love! I've been a huge fan since I saw him in How I Live Now. I kind of hope he remains under the radar so he stays a relatively well-kept hidden treasure in cinema.

Great range too... From Peter Pan (2003) as a Lost Boy to Clive Owen's slightly rebellious teen son in The Boys Are Back to a double-feature as a Private during WWII (The Best of Men and Private Peaceful, the latter with Jack O'Connell as his big brother) How I Live Now to Sunshine on Leith (musical, he can sing!) to For Those in Peril (absolutely marvelous as a young man steeped in deep depression) to Pride (wonderfully heartwarming and kind) to Captain Fantastic (a kind of melange of all the roles he's done thus far, I feel) and even a little Americana in 11.22.63.

I look forward to more from him! :)

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterManny

1946 Best Actress
Olivia De Havilland
Celia Johnson ***
Jane Wyman
Ingrid Bergman - Notorious
Vivien Leigh - Cesar and Cleopatra
Rita Hayworth - Gilda

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterManos

Firstly Howards End was robbed!! Unforgiven isn’t an awful film but nowhere near the seamless accomplishment of the Merchant/Ivory masterpiece.

To Each His Own is pure soap opera but Olivia’s work in it is first rate and deserving of a nomination but of the five in the running I’d have to go with Celia Johnson like the rest of the crowd. However in the larger scope of the available performances for the year, one of the strongest years for actress performances-both lead and supporting in the history of film-I’d lean more towards Ingrid Bergman’s phenomenal work in Hitchcock’s Notorious.

Being such a strong year my list would run like this:

Ingrid Bergman-Notorious-Winner
Olivia de Havilland-To Each His Own
Susan Hayward-Deadline at Dawn
Celia Johnson-Brief Encounter
Dorothy McGuire-The Spiral Staircase

With the following work all being in the running: Arletty-Children of Paradise, Josette Day-Beauty & the Beast, Laraine Day-The Locket, Rita Hayworth-Gilda, Deborah Kerr-I See a Dark Stranger, Rosalind Russell-Sister Kenny, Barbara Stanwyck-My Reputation, Barbara Stanwyck-The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Gene Tierney-The Razor's Edge and Lana Turner-The Postman Always Rings Twice

Actually I’d take away Anne Baxter’s supporting Oscar that year as well and hand it to the criminally under-acknowledged Myrna Loy in Best Years. That was a crowded field as well with my list running this way:

Anne Baxter-The Razor's Edge
Joan Crawford-Humoresque
Leopoldine Konstantin-Notorious
Myrna Loy-The Best Years of Our Lives-Winner
Virginia Mayo-The Best Years of Our Lives

In the running: Ethel Barrymore-The Spiral Staircase, Ava Gardner-The Killers, Gloria Grahame-It's a Wonderful Life, Martita Hunt-Great Expectations, Anna Magnani-Open City, Donna Reed-It's a Wonderful Life, Martha Vickers-The Big Sleep and Teresa Wright-The Best Years of Our Lives.

Since you mentioned your viewing of ’46 films is thin Nathaniel here’s some suggestions of films worth seeing. Some you probably have seen, I left out any you specifically spoke of, but others are more obscure and many feature some terrific actressing which I know is close to your heart.

Deadline at Dawn, Humoresque, The Spiral Staircase, Beauty & the Beast, Children of Paradise, I See a Dark Stranger, Open City, The Killers, My Reputation, Nobody Lives Forever, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, The Locket, My Darling Clementine, The Stranger, Because of Him, A Matter of Life and Death, Stairway to Heaven, Three Strangers, The Time of Their Lives (the best Abbott & Costello movie-clever and different), The Dark Corner, Blue Skies (a very nice teaming of Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby), Crack-Up and Two Smart People.

There’s really so many more, it was a very good movie year, but these are all good films to start with.

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I agree with you about bot "Howard's End" and "Captain America: Winter Soldier" they are both masterworks of their respective genres

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Sultry Rita would be my choice but among the nominees I would be undecided between Johnson or Jones.

For what concernes supporting actress I am sorry that Virginia Mayo was overlooked for her stint in the Best Picture

March 13, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermirko

Olivia de Havilland DESERVED that 1946 Oscar ! Hands down !

June 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAAA

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