The second national telecast of the Awards show drew an estimated 43 million viewers. Shirley Booth, appearing in a play in Philadelphia, presented the Best Actor award through a live broadcast cut-in, and privately received 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 the major winners in this year were black-and-white films. The big winner was Fred Zinnemann's From Here to Eternity, with thirteen nominations and eight awards including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting 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 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, illustrating the conflict between an individualistic private (Montgomery Clift) and rigid institutional authority (exemplified by the Army). Its achievement of eight awards matched the then record held by Gone with the Wind (1939). The record would be tied again the following year by On the Waterfront (1954). Walt Disney won four awards, which remains the record for the most Oscars won in the same year.
William Holden's speech for Best Actor for his role in Stalag 17 was simply "Thank You", making it one of the shortest speeches ever; the TV broadcast had a strict cutoff time which forced Holden's quick remarks. The frustrated Holden personally paid for advertisements in the Hollywood trade publications to thank everyone he wanted to on Oscar night. He also remarked that he felt that either Burt Lancaster or Montgomery Clift should have won the Best Actor Oscar for From Here to Eternity, instead of him.
|26th Academy Awards|
|Date||March 25, 1954|
|Site||RKO Pantages Theatre|
NBC Century Theatre
New York City, New York
|Hosted by||Donald O'Connor (Los Angeles)|
Fredric March (New York City)
|Best Picture||From Here to Eternity|
|Most awards||From Here to Eternity (8)|
|Most nominations||From Here to Eternity (13)|
|TV in the United States|
Winners are listed first and highlighted in boldface.
|Best Motion Picture||Best Director|
|Best Actor||Best Actress|
|Best Supporting Actor||Best Supporting Actress|
|Best Screenplay||Best Story and Screenplay|
|Best Story||Best Short Subject - Cartoons|
|Best Documentary Feature||Best Documentary Short Subject|
|Best Live Action Short Subject, One-Reel||Best Live Action Short Subject, Two-Reel|
|Best Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture||Best Scoring of a Musical Picture|
|Best Song||Best Sound Recording|
|Best Art Direction, Black-and-White||Best Art Direction, Color|
|Best Cinematography, Black-and-White||Best Cinematography, Color|
|Best Costume Design, Black-and-White||Best Costume Design, Color|
|Best Film Editing||Best Special Effects|
These films had multiple nominations:
The following films received multiple awards.