26th Academy Awards

The 26th Academy Awards honored the best in films of 1953.

The second national telecast of the Awards show draws an estimated 43,000,000 viewers. Shirley Booth, appearing in a play in Philadelphia, presents the Best Actor award through a live broadcast cut-in, and privately receives the winner's name over the telephone from co-host Donald O'Connor. (Actor Fredric March co-hosted from New York City.) Gary Cooper filmed his presentation of the Best Actress award in advance on a set in Mexico, with O'Connor announcing the winner's name.

All of the big winners in this year of 1953 were black-and-white films. The big winner was Fred Zinnemann's eight-Oscar winning From Here to Eternity (with thirteen nominations and eight awards including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay (Daniel Taradash), Best Cinematography (Burnett Guffey), Best Sound, and Best Film Editing). All five of its major actors and actresses were nominated, with secondary players Donna Reed and Frank Sinatra taking home the Oscars.

The candid film was based on James Jones' controversial, best-selling novel about Army life on a Hawaiian (Oahu) military base just prior to the Pearl Harbor attack and World War II, to illustrate the conflict between an individualistic private (Montgomery Clift) and rigid institutional authority (exemplified by the Army). Its achievement of eight awards matched the all-time record held by Gone with the Wind (1939). The record would be tied again the following year by On the Waterfront (1954).

The 1953 Academy Award Winners

Picture: From Here to Eternity
Actor: William Holden (Stalag 17)
Actress: Audrey Hepburn (Roman Holiday)
Supporting Actor: Frank Sinatra (From Here to Eternity)

Supporting Actress: Donna Reed (From Here to Eternity)
Director: Fred Zinnemann (From Here to Eternity)
Adapted Screenplay: Daniel Taradash (From Here to Eternity)
Original Screenplay: Ian McLellan Hunter (Roman Holiday) / Charles Brackett, Walter Reisch, and Richard Breen (Titanic)
Song: "Secret Love" (Calamity Jane)
Score: Lili / Call Me Madam
Cinematography: From Here to Eternity (Black and White) / Shane (Color)
Costume Design: Roman Holiday (Black and White) / The Robe (Color)
Art / Set Decoration: Julius Caesar (Black and White) / The Robe (Color)
Film Editing: From Here to Eternity
Sound: From Here to Eternity
Special Effects: The War of the Worlds
Short Films: Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom (Cartoons) / The Merry Wives of Windsor Overture (One-Reel) / Bear Country (Two-Reel)
Documentaries: The Alaskan Eskimo (Short) / The Living Desert (Feature)

The twenty-sixth Academy Awards ceremony was held on Thursday, March 25, 1954. Again the Awards were split between two locations: RKO Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles (hosted by Donald O'Connor) and the NBC Century Theater in New York (hosted by Fredric March).