The answer. Great.
Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your Classic Movie guys, her to cap a series of articles about one of our favorite films written by our Books2Movie maven Larry Michie.
In fact in 1953, the film was nominated in 12 categories with two for Best Actor (Burt Lancaster and Montgomery Clift) making the total 13 nominations.
Deborah Kerr had been nominated for best actress in a role Joan Crawford had turned down. As any fan of the Oscar knows it was the win by Frank Sinatra for Best Supporting Actor which garnered almost all of the publicity.
The film provided Sinatra a career comeback. He had lobbied hard to get the part in the movie (it was originally given to Eli Wallach, who turned it down to return to Broadway).
Sinatra accepted a meager salary of only $8000 from Harry Cohn, the imperious boss of Columbia Pictures, who knew he had the singer/actor over a barrel. “King Cohn” was widely disliked in Hollywood. Comedian Red Skleton, when asked about the crowds that showed up at Cohn’s 1958 funeral, quipped: “Give the public what they want and they’ll come out for it.”
Sinatra’s film career as well as his recording career were in the doldrums, but even before the win, with just the “Buzz” of his performance (and the sure nomination) Sinatra had managed to forge a comeback. He signed with a new record label and signed for more films.
Sinatra’s competition was light that year, and his win was expected. It would have been a great shock to all if it hadn’t occurred.
That was not the case for Donna Reed. She had stiff competition in the Best Supporting Actress category, notably Thelma Ritter who had received her fourth straight nomination. She’d been superb in “Pick up on South Street” that year.
But Reed (pictured above to the right) prevailed. So did director Fred Zinnemann.
Though neither Clift (upper left above) nor Lancaster, nor Kerr won, “From Here to Eternity” was named best picture of the year and had thereby won a total of 8 Oscars.
That tied the existing record held by “Gone With the Wind.” Maybe, sometimes, hit books make hit films.