Academy Awards
Best Picture Milestones



1950s
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Oscars - Best Picture Milestones
Year of Awards (No.) Production Company Best Picture Winner/Year and Director
Number of Awards/Nominations and Milestones
Film Poster
1950 (23rd)

20th Century Fox

All About Eve (1950)
d. Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Awards: 6
Nominations: 14

An innocent-seeming would-be actress coldly uses an aging star to further her own ambitions.

  • until 1997 (Titanic (1997)), the first of only two Best Picture nominees (and winners) to receive 14 Academy Award nominations
  • the first - and only - (to date) film in Academy Awards history to receive four female acting nominations (two for Best Actress, two for Best Supporting Actress)
  • the last film in which the Academy bestowed the Best Picture Oscar award to the studio(s) which produced the film; prior to 1951, MGM studios had both the most nominations for Best Picture (41) and most wins for Best Picture (6)
1951 (24th)

MGM

An American in Paris (1951)
d. Vincente Minnelli
Awards: 6
Nominations: 8

Show-stopping dance numbers distinguish this musical about a WWII veteran trying to make it as an artist in Paris.

  • Gene Kelly received his sole career Oscar when presented with this year's Honorary Award for "his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film"
  • beginning in 1951, the Academy bestowed the Best Picture Oscar award to the individual producer(s) credited to the film
  • since 1944 when there was a switch to only five Best Picture nominees, Decision Before Dawn (1951) was the first Best Picture nominee to receive only one other nomination
1952 (25th)

Paramount

The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
d. Cecil B. DeMille
Awards: 2
Nominations: 5

This behind-the-scenes circus drama mixed movie stars and Ringling Brothers headliners.

  • often rated as the worst choice for Best Picture, defeating such classics as High Noon (1952), The Quiet Man (1952), and Singin' in the Rain (1952)
  • the first time in Oscar's Academy history that all of the top six prizes (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress) went to six different films; this also occurred in 1956
1953 (26th)

Columbia

From Here to Eternity (1953)
d. Fred Zinnemann
Awards: 8
Nominations: 13

Gritty drama about American servicemen in Hawaii in the days leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

  • to date, the last Best Picture winner to receive nominations in all four acting categories
  • it equaled the eight Oscar record held by Gone With The Wind (1939)
  • the first year in which a Best Picture nominee was filmed in Cinemascope (The Robe (1953))
1954 (27th)

Columbia

On the Waterfront (1954)
d. Elia Kazan
Awards: 8
Nominations: 12

Hardworking New York longshoremen try to make a living while thugs, mobsters, and corrupt businessmen prosper.

1955 (28th)

United Artists

Marty (1955)
d. Delbert Mann
Awards: 4
Nominations: 8

A lonely, middle-aged butcher finds love in this adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky's 1953 made-for-TV drama.

  • a major turning point and milestone in Oscar history, since the Best Picture winner was an unpretentious, anti-Hollywood type of winner - a "sleeper" hit
  • the first (and only) Best Picture-winning film based on a TV movie or mini-series, written for and previously produced for television that was transferred to the big screen
  • the first and only other time UA had won a Best Picture Oscar was in 1940 for Rebecca (1940). In the decade of the 60s, UA would win more Best Picture Oscars than any other organization
  • the shortest film to win Best Picture
  • the first (and only) film to win both the Best Picture Academy Award and the Palme d'Or, the highest award offered by the Cannes Film Festival
  • in the same year, Ward Bond made his 14th appearance in a Best Picture nominee - Mister Roberts (1955), more than any other actor/actress (however, he was never nominated for an Academy Award)
1956 (29th)

United Artists

Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
d. Michael Anderson
Awards: 5
Nominations: 8

The story of a Brit circumnavigating the globe in a balloon featured blockbuster effects, dozens of cameos and exotic locations.

  • the first year in which all the Best Picture nominees were filmed in color; the first film to win Best Picture when all its fellow nominees were also filmed in color
  • the second time in Oscar's long history that the top six prizes (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, and Supporting Actress) went to six different films (it also had occurred in 1952)
  • the Best Picture winner which features more Oscar-winning (and honorary) performers (in other films) than any other: 10
  • the first year that the regular competitive category of Best Foreign Language film was introduced, instead of only being recognized as a special achievement Honorary Award or as a Best Picture nominee (as in 1938); the first winner in this new category was Federico Fellini's La Strada (1956) with Anthony Quinn
1957 (30th)

Columbia

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
d. David Lean
Awards: 7
Nominations: 8

American and British POWs find ways to survive harsh internment in a Japanese camp.

  • in the same year, all five directors of the Best Picture nominees were also nominated for Best Director - the first time in Oscar history
1958 (31st)

MGM

Gigi (1958)
d. Vincente Minnelli
Awards: 9
Nominations: 9

The last of the great MGM musicals, based on a Colette story about life and love in turn-of-the-century Paris.

  • the first Best Picture-winning film to win nine Academy Awards (the record held for only one year); it broke the eight Oscar record held by Gone With The Wind (1939) (and equaled by From Here to Eternity (1953) and On The Waterfront (1954))
  • the Best Picture winner with the shortest title
  • it won a clean-sweep (9/9), the first Best Picture-winner to do so, not repeated until it was also accomplished by The Last Emperor (1987); they were the only two Best Picture films to score exactly nine Oscars from nine nominations; a third Best Picture winner scored a clean-sweep (of 11/11): The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  • it was highly unusual that none of the Best Picture-winning film's cast received acting nominations; it was one of only ten films in all of Academy history that won Best Picture without receiving a single acting nomination - other notable examples were in 2008, 2003, 1995, and 1987
1959 (32nd)

MGM

Ben-Hur (1959)
d. William Wyler
Awards: 11
Nominations: 12

A chance encounter with Jesus of Nazareth changes the life of a Jewish prince in this lavish epic.

  • the first of only three Best Picture-winning films to win 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture (the other two films were: Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003))
  • with eleven Oscar wins, it broke the nine Oscar record held by the previous year's Gigi (1958) - (later equaled but not broken) by Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  • it was the second remake to win Best Picture - it was a remake of the silent era's Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925) (the first remake to win Best Picture was in 1935)
  • the last film, until Mystic River (2003) to win the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Oscars
  • in the decade of the 1950s, none of the Best Actress Oscar winners appeared in a Best Picture winning film!
  • the film's director, William Wyler, eventually became the most nominated director of Best Pictures of all-time - he received 12 Best Director nominations from 1936 to 1965; with Ben-Hur (1959), he won his third and last Best Director Oscar

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