1950 dawned with All About Eve, still talked about because of its (since tied) record 14 nominations. Among its nominations were two for Best Actress, which it didn’t win. In fact, no Best Picture winner during this period won Best Actress, even though 12 of the 21 Best Actress winners during this stretch were in Best Picture nominees.

The 1950’s were an odd era for Best Picture. It had some of the biggest films in Oscar history (in my point system, 4 of the top 6 were from the 50’s – From Here to Eternity, Ben-Hur, On the Waterfront and All About Eve), but also smaller films like An American in Paris, Greatest Show on Earth and Around the World in 80 Days that didn’t win Best Director.

During this stretch, only The Sound of Music managed to win Best Picture without getting a writing nomination, though there was a stretch of years, from 1959 to 1965 where only two winners, The Apartment and Tom Jones, won for their writing.  This was especially ironic as that win was one of only 5 for The Apartment and 4 for Tom Jones, while those that were nominated and lost were the only loss out of 12 nominations for Ben-Hur, the only loss out of 11 nominations for West Side Story, one of only three losses out of 12 nominations for Lawrence of Arabia and one of only 4 losses out of 12 nominations for My Fair Lady.  That streak of 7 straight winners with double digit nominations (The Sound of Music had 10) is the longest streak in history.

The leading stars of this era were Deborah Kerr, who was in 7 Best Picture nominees (with 1 winner), Elizabeth Taylor (7 nominees) and Richard Burton (6 nominees).  Ironically, Taylor and Burton were never in a Best Picture winner and only two of their films are the same (Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf).  Their opposite number is Hugh Griffith who was in four nominees, three of which, Ben-Hur, Tom Jones and Oliver!, won Best Picture.

With the other categories, I listed the winner first and then I tried to list (among the nominees) any Best Picture nominees first, then usually the rest were alphabetical, but there was no definite order. With Best Picture, since I have seen almost all of the nominees, I list Best Picture first, then I list the rest in the order I would rank them, complete with how they rank among the films I have seen from that year. If a film is near the bottom of the list, I note that (like #48 of 49).

Also, since every film was nominated for Best Picture, the ones in red are the ones that were nominated for Picture and Director.

Grades (50-69 only): Winners: B+ / Nominations: B / Seen: 100%

Best Year: 1961 – They got the winner right, had another excellent film, one very good film and two films on the high end of good.

Worst Year: 1963 – One great film, but three films that were okay and then the single worst film ever nominated for Best Picture. 1956 gets second place for being the only year after 1932 to not have a single **** film among its nominees.

Biggest Slight for a nomination: Hud (1963) – Even though only two of the Best Picture nominees were nominated for Best Director and one of the nominees was a critical failure and a production of such overwhelming costs that it almost destroyed an entire studio (Cleopatra), Hud failed to earn a Best Picture nomination. It was nominated for 7 Oscars, including Director, Adapted Screenplay and Actor, while winning Actress, Supporting Actor and Cinematography. It’s the only film to come in 2nd in points in a given year without at least getting a Best Picture nomination.

The two runners up are The Bad and the Beautiful, which won 5 Oscars and until 1996 was the only non-Best Picture nominee to win Best Adapted Screenplay and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? which received 9 nominations, including Director, Adapted Screenplay and 3 acting nominations.

Oddest Win for Best Picture: An American in ParisA Streetcar Named Desire had far more nominations. Streetcar and A Place in the Sun had won the critics awards. A Place in the Sun had already won Best Director. Streetcar had won three acting Oscars. Yet, somehow, at the end of the night, An American in Paris slipped in past the two much more serious films to win.

1950 AA: All About Eve (#3)

  • Sunset Boulevard (#1)
  • King Solomon’s Mines (#29)
  • Born Yesterday (#36)
  • Father of the Bride (#43)

me: Sunset Boulevard

  • The Third Man
  • All About Eve
  • Rules of the Game
  • Night and the City

1951 AA: An American in Paris (#16)

  • A Streetcar Named Desire (#1)
  • A Place in the Sun (#6)
  • Decision Before Dawn (#12)
  • Quo Vadis (#36)

me: A Streetcar Named Desire

  • Strangers on a Train
  • The African Queen
  • Detective Story
  • Oliver Twist

1952 AA: The Greatest Show on Earth (#43)

  • High Noon (#3)
  • The Quiet Man (#7)
  • Moulin Rouge (#10)
  • Ivanhoe (#25)

me: Rashomon

  • Singin in the Rain
  • High Noon
  • The Bad and the Beautiful
  • The Lavender Hill Mob

1953 AA: From Here to Eternity (#1)

  • Roman Holiday (#5)
  • Julius Caesar (#20)
  • The Robe (#23)
  • Shane (#38)

me: From Here to Eternity

  • Stalag 17
  • The Big Heat
  • Pickup on South Street
  • Roman Holiday

1954 AA: On the Waterfront (#1)

  • The Caine Mutiny (#7)
  • The Country Girl (#9)
  • Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (#35)
  • Three Coins in the Fountain (#42)

me: On the Waterfront

  • Rear Window
  • A Star is Born
  • Forbidden Games
  • Sabrina

1955 AA: Marty (#27)

  • Mr. Roberts (#2)
  • Picnic (#6)
  • The Rose Tattoo (#18)
  • Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (#47)

me: Rebel Without a Cause

  • Mr. Roberts
  • Bad Day at Black Rock
  • To Catch a Thief
  • Othello

note:  Marty was the only one of the nominees to get nominations for Director and Screenplay, something that always lead to a win.

1956 AA: Around the World in 80 Days (#27)

  • The King and I (#13)
  • Giant (#28)
  • Friendly Persuasion (#36)
  • The 10 Commandments (#51)

me: The Seven Samurai

  • The Searchers
  • The Killing
  • Richard III
  • Forbidden Planet

note:  Around the World in 80 Days is the only non-musical from 1953 to 1979 to win Best Picture without a Best Actor nomination.

1957 AA: Bridge on the River Kwai (#1)

  • 12 Angry Men (#5)
  • Witness for the Prosecution (#7)
  • Sayonara (#40)
  • Peyton Place (#42)

me: Bridge on the River Kwai

  • Paths of Glory
  • Smiles of a Summer Night
  • Sweet Smell of Success
  • 12 Angry Men

note:  This was the first year with five Best Picture nominees to have a 5/5 Picture / Director match.

1958 AA: Gigi (#45)

  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (#3)
  • The Defiant Ones (#9)
  • Separate Tables (#13)
  • Auntie Mame (#36)

me: The Seventh Seal

  • Touch of Evil
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  • Vertigo
  • Death of a Cyclist

1959 AA: Ben-Hur (#7)

  • The Diary of Anne Frank (#5)
  • Anatomy of a Murder (#13)
  • Room at the Top (#17)
  • The Nun’s Story (#41)

me: Some Like It Hot

  • Wild Strawberries
  • The 400 Blows
  • North by Northwest
  • The Diary of Anne Frank

1960 AA: The Apartment (#1)

  • Elmer Gantry (#13)
  • Sons and Lovers (#22)
  • The Sundowners (#24)
  • The Alamo (#53)

me: The Apartment

  • Ikiru
  • The Virgin Spring
  • The Cranes are Flying
  • Spartacus

1961 AA: West Side Story (#1)

  • The Hustler (#3)
  • The Guns of Navarone (#12)
  • Judgment at Nuremberg (#19)
  • Fanny (#23)

me: West Side Story

  • Throne of Blood
  • The Hustler
  • The Bridge
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s

1962 AA: Lawrence of Arabia (#1)

  • To Kill a Mockingbird (#2)
  • The Music Man (#3)
  • The Longest Day (#52)
  • Mutiny on the Bounty (#67 of 69)

me: Lawrence of Arabia

  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • The Music Man
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  • The Manchurian Candidate

1963 AA: Tom Jones (#6)

  • Lilies of the Field (#32)
  • America, America (#34)
  • How the West Was Won (#46)
  • Cleopatra (#61 of 61)

me: The Great Escape

  • Stray Dog
  • Ivan’s Childhood
  • High and Low
  • Winter Light

1964 AA: My Fair Lady (#3)

  • Dr. Strangelove (#1)
  • Mary Poppins (#2)
  • Becket (#39)
  • Zorba the Greek (#64)

me: Dr. Strangelove

  • Mary Poppins
  • My Fair Lady
  • A Hard Day’s Night
  • Harakiri

note:  The second 5/5 Picture / Director match and the last one in which both awards would go to the same film until 2008.

1965 AA: The Sound of Music (#7)

  • Doctor Zhivago (#1)
  • Darling (#4)
  • A Thousand Clowns (#5)
  • Ship of Fools (#52)

me: Doctor Zhivago

  • The Pawnbroker
  • Repulsion
  • Darling
  • A Thousand Clowns

note:  The only Best Picture winner without a Screenplay nomination between 1948 and 1997.

1966 AA: A Man for all Seasons (#2)

  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (#1)
  • The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (#12)
  • Alfie (#23)
  • The Sand Pebbles (#26)

me: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

  • A Man for all Seasons
  • The Professionals
  • Morgan!
  • Red Beard

1967 AA: In the Heat of the Night (#7)

  • Bonnie and Clyde (#1)
  • The Graduate (#3)
  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (#33)
  • Dr. Dolittle (#52 of 53)

me: Bonnie and Clyde

  • Chimes at Midnight
  • The Graduate
  • Persona
  • In Cold Blood

1968 AA: Oliver! (#21)

  • The Lion in Winter (#2)
  • Funny Girl (#23)
  • Rachel, Rachel (#27)
  • Romeo and Juliet (#42)

me: 2001: A Space Odyssey

  • The Lion in Winter
  • Rosemary’s Baby
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
  • The Producers

1969 AA: Midnight Cowboy (#6)

  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (#3)
  • Z (#4)
  • Anne of the Thousand Days (#22)
  • Hello Dolly! (#38)

me: The Wild Bunch

  • Once Upon a Time in the West
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Z
  • Oh, What a Lovely War!

Honorary Mentions:

  • 1957: Nights of Cabiria
  • 1960: Psycho
  • 1962: Through a Glass Darkly
  • 1963: Tom Jones
  • 1968: Belle de Jour
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