The Academy Awards in Wartime: Bob Hope and "Mrs. Miniver"

The Oscars host for the ages presided over the 1943 ceremony. 

The Academy Awards for 1942 were presented on March 4, 1943. The war featured heavily in the content of the nominated films, the acceptance speeches, and the ceremony itself. Even the Oscar statuettes were subject to wartime conditions, crafted out of plaster rather than the standard metal. Bob Hope—comedian and entertainer who devoted much of his life to entertaining military audiences—served as host and emcee of the 1943 awards. Hope hosted more Academy Award shows than any other individual, 19 in total, from 1939–1977.

In 1943, the big winner was the film Mrs. Miniver, set in rural England during the Blitz. It was nominated for 12 Oscars and ultimately took home six. Below is a clip of Greer Garson’s acceptance speech (famous for its length of nearly six minutes!). Note the banner behind her, which reads “27,677” for the number of people in the motion picture industry serving in uniform.

Image: Bob Hope as Oscars host in 1941. Image courtesy of the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation Collection, World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum.

A new special exhibit, So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope, will be on display at the Museum from May 25, 2018 to February 10, 2019. Read more about Bob Hope at the Museum here. Read more about a Bob Hope-led wartime fund-raising tour here



Kim Guise

Kimberly Guise holds a BA in German and Judaic Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also studied at the Universität Freiburg in Germany and holds a masters in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Louisiana State University. Kim is fluent in German, reads Yiddish, and specializes in the American prisoner-of-war experience in World War II.

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