Oscar History: Academy Award Winning Movies and Actors of 1951

A look at Oscar winners and nominees, behind the scenes on the decisions for best picture, actor, etc for 1951, An American in Paris gets top honors.

1951

Best Picture

NOMINEES: An American in Paris, Decision before Dawn, A Place in the Sun, Quo Vadis, A Streetcar Named Desire

THE WINNER: An American in Paris (MGM)

DIRECTOR: Vincente Minnelli

PLAYERS: Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guetary, Nina Foch

Best Actor

NOMINEES: Humphrey Bogart (The African Queen); Marlon Brando (A Streetcar Named Desire); Montgomery Clift (A Place in the Sun); Arthur Kennedy (Bright Victory); Fredric March (Death of a Salesman)

THE WINNER: Humphrey Bogart

Best Actress

NOMINEES: Katharine Hepburn (The African Queen); Vivien Leigh (A Streetcar Named Desire); Eleanor Parker (Detective Story); Shelley Winters (A Place in the Sun); Jane Wyman (The Blue Veil)

THE WINNER: Vivien Leigh

Behind the Oscar

Either A Streetcar Named Desire or A Place in the Sun was regarded as a cinch to win best picture, but a longshot, MGM's An American in Paris took it. There was much muttering about the number of Academy voters who worked at MGM. Marlon Brando was considered a shoo-in for best actor. But Humphrey Bogart got it. The logic of the vote: Brando was new and had time, Bogart had been too long overlooked. "Awards don't mean a thing, unless every actor plays Hamlet and then who is best is decided," said Bogart the morning after. Not exactly a turndown, for Humphrey Bogart did accept his Oscar. He didn't know it, but he set a kind of precedent that would be followed by a select few.

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