Reza wrote:Finally caught up with Bright Victory and Arthur Kennedy's Best Actor nominated performance. While the performance is good there is really nothing exceptional for it to warrant a nod.
Was Kennedy, after one previous nod in the supporting category, considered to be a star lead in the making or was his Best Actor nomination here due to the nature of the part - the after effects of WW II and the problems soldiers were going through? After all Brando's debut was in a similar role just a year before and despite good reviews there was no traction for him during the 1950 awards season. And Brando was a huge name by 1950 just by virtue of the stage version of Streetcar which came in 1947.
It was the influence of the New York Film Critics who voted his performance the best of the year over Brando and Clift - Bogie wasn't eligible, The African Queen
not having opened in New York until 1952.
Kennedy was considered an actor's actor who had been very popular on stage in the late 40s playing the sons in Arthur Miller's All My Sons
and Death of a Salesman
but losing both film roles to other actors. The movies liked him, too, going as far back as 1940's City for Conquest
in which he played James Cagney' brother. I don't think anyone saw him as a new "star" - at the time of the nominations he had already been seen supporting James Stewart in 1952's Bend of the River
and was about to be seen in Rancho Notorious
in which he was the main character but was billed below the title with Marlene Dietrich receiving sole over-the-title billing. The nomination was a combination of genuine affection for both the character and the actor for his naturalistic acting style and not a bad choice, but he probably didn't have much of a chance of winning.
He was also one of three actors nominated that year for a Golden Globe. The others were Kirk Douglas in Detective Story
and Fredric March in Death of a Salesman
. March won.
This was the third similar film of the era behind not only The Men
, but 1945's Pride of the Marines
with John Garfield as well.