Best Picture: How Green Was My Valley
How Green Was My Valley also won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Donald Crisp), Black-and-White Art Direction – Interior Decoration (Richard Day, Nathan Juran, and Thomas Little), Black-and-White Cinematography (Arthur C. Miller), and Directing (John Ford).
Bob Hope was the master of ceremonies.
Orson Welles produced Best Picture nominee Citizen Kane, for which he received lead actor, directing and writing nominations. He and Herman J. Mankiewicz won for their original screenplay.
For the first time, the Academy recognized documentary film production.
For the first time, two real-life sisters were nominated in the Best Actress category. Joan Fontaine (Suspicion) won over sibling Olivia de Havilland (Hold Back the Dawn).
On January 16, 1942, popular actress Carole Lombard was killed in an airplane crash while returning from a war bond-selling tour.
In March 1941, President Roosevelt opened the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
In April 1941, Bertolt Brecht's anti-war play Mother Courage and Her Children was staged for the first time at the Schauspielhaus Zürich.
In May 1941, General Mills introduced the breakfast cereal CheeriOats, which later became known as Cheerios.
On July 17, 1941, Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak ended.
In October 1941, Walt Disney's Dumbo was released. The song Baby Mine was nominated, and the film won the award for Music – Scoring of a Musical Picture.
On December 7, 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, drawing the U.S. into World War II.
In consideration of these two tragic events, Academy officials initially decided to cancel the awards ceremony. Then Bette Davis, the new Academy president, suggested the event be held in a large auditorium with the public invited to buy tickets, with the proceeds going to the Red Cross. That plan was rejected and ultimately, the Academy Governors decided to go ahead with the ceremony, but under modified conditions: formal attire was banned, the ceremony was labeled a dinner rather than a banquet and there were no searchlights outside the hotel.
To Walt Disney, William Garity, John N. A. Hawkins and the RCA Manufacturing Company for their outstanding contribution to the advancement of the use of sound in motion pictures through the production of Fantasia.
To Leopold Stokowski and his associates for their unique achievement in the creation of a new form of visualized music in Walt Disney's production, Fantasia, thereby widening the scope of the motion picture as entertainment and as an art form.
To Rey Scott for his extraordinary achievement in producing Kukan, the film record of China's struggle, including its photography with a 16mm camera under the most difficult and dangerous conditions.
To The British Ministry of Information for its vivid and dramatic presentation of the heroism of the RAF in the documentary film, Target for Tonight.
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
To Walt Disney