1 of 17How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Based on the 1939 novel of the same name -- about the hardships of a family in a Welsh mining town -- John Ford's adaptation is a well-crafted film, but even without the benefit of 75 years of hindsight, it had no business beating the far superior Citizen Kane for Best Picture. (Valley won five Oscars, including Best Director, while Kane only won for its screenplay.) If it wasn't clear in the first 13 years of the Oscars what tickles Academy voters' fancy the most, it was definitely clear now: If forced to choose between a safe, comfortable weepy drama and a challenging, visionary achievement, they will more often than not go for the former.
Photo By: 20th Century Fox