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The 23rd Academy Awards in 1951

Updated on February 9, 2014
tillsontitan profile image

Mary has been a movie fan since she was a little girl. She watched movies every night of the week on Million Dollar Theater..

Anne Baxter in All About Eve

Ann Baxter as Eve, in costume as Margo's understudy.
Ann Baxter as Eve, in costume as Margo's understudy. | Source

Academy Awards FAQs

  • The Academy has three buildings and the main building houses two galleries that are open to the public. (Admission - free)
  • Membership in the Academy is by invitation only..
  • Mary Pickford was one of the original founders of the Academy.
  • Warner Brothers won an Academy Award for The Jazz Singer, for paving the way for talking pictures.

Academy Awards Background

The first Academy Awards in 1937 were attended by three hundred people and the very first Honorary Award was given to none other than Thomas Edison! The first President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.

Of course the Academy is most well know for the Academy Awards Ceremonies, but did you know the Academy gives Student Scholarships to graduate and undergraduate filmmakers as well as five fellowships in screenwriting?

Let's set the tone for the 1951 Academy Awards. Yul Brynner made his first appearance in the Broadway play, The King of Siam. Color television was introduced to an appreciative public and Alan Freed coined the term "rock and roll".

Now, the 23rd Academy Awards, held on March 29, 1951 at the RKO Pantages Theatre, and hosted by Fred Astaire. Good movies nominated but in my opinion not a stellar year.

Bette Davis in All About Eve

Bette Davis as Margo Channing.
Bette Davis as Margo Channing. | Source

Quotes from All About Eve

  • Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night.
  • Bill's thirty-two. He looks thirty-two. He looked it five years ago, he'll look it twenty years from now. I hate men.
  • We all have abnormality in common. We're a breed apart from the rest of humanity, we theatre folk; We are the original displaced personalities.
  • What a story! Everything but the bloodhounds snappin' at her rear end.
  • Outside of a beehive, Margo, your behavior would hardly be considered either queenly or motherly.
  • Too bad, we're gonna miss the third act. They're gonna play it off stage.
  • That cynicism you refer to I acquired the day I discovered I was different from little boys.

All About Eve

All About Eve is the only movie in Academy Awards history to receive four female acting nominations (Bette Davis and Anne Baxter as Best Actress, and Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter as Best Supporting Actress). The film received fourteen nominations, the most since Gone With the Wind, and received six.

Claudette Colbert was chosen as the star but hurt her back and had to withdraw from the movie. Bette Davis was chosen in her place. The role of Eve was supposed to be played by Jeanne Crain but she got pregnant and Anne Baxter was chosen in her place.

The movie begins at an awards ceremony where a bitter theater critic played by George Sanders, remembers how this star's career and conniving led her to the award. A young fan introduced to an aging actress is where it all began. Margo (Bette Davis) is so flattered by the young fan's devotion that she moves the young girl into her home and hires her as her assistant. The humble young fan, Eve, is really quite devious and begins to undermine Margo. She cause Margo to miss a performance so she can fill in herself. She blackmails Margo's best friend to get her to help Eve and tries to steal Margo's soon to be husband. When that fails she tries to steal the husband of her only true supporter, Karen, played by Celeste Holm. Davis shines in this film, thought by some to be her best.

Many critics believed this film to be an accurate depiction of the struggle between Hollywood and Broadway. Some suggest the film contained undertones of homosexuality between Margo and Eve but due to the times it was kept as an undertone to be deciphered by the viewer.

Marilyn Monroe played a small part in the movie as Dewitt's date, he's the film critic we met earlier.

I remember the first time I saw this movie I felt so sorry for Margo. She tried to be brash and so worldly but was really a caring person being taken advantage of by Eve who was just hungry for fame at any price. Watch this movie to see how it all ends for Eve.

All About Eve

Judy Holliday


Born Yesterday

Judy Holliday won a Best Actress Award for her starring role in Born Yesterday. This is the story of a corrupt tycoon otherwise known as a gangster, played superbly by Broderick Crawford, who wants to buy himself some senators to help expand his junk business. He brings his uneducated mistress with him to Washington and then hires a tutor to teach her and improve her manners. Never mind the fact that his are worse than hers. The tutor he hires, Paul Verall is played by William Holden.

While Verall is tutoring Billie, the girlfriend, they begin to form an attraction and she begins to surprise everyone by just how smart she really is. In the meantime, Harry's lawyer tells him he should marry Billie so she can't testify against him. Later the same lawyer advises Harry to sign over all his assets to Billie so he can hide them from the government. Billie's new education and new found sense of independence begin to change things between her and Harry.

I've set the groundwork here and I'm sure you can figure out what happens. If not, you'd better watch the movie. It some light-hearted moments but also shows the darker side of Harry.

Born Yesterday

Cyrano De Bergerac

Title page of The Adventures of Cyrano De Bergerac by Louis Gallet (pub. 1919, Jarrolds (London; first impression 1900)
Title page of The Adventures of Cyrano De Bergerac by Louis Gallet (pub. 1919, Jarrolds (London; first impression 1900) | Source

Cyrano de Bergerac

This film garnered a Best Actor Award for José Ferrer. Cyrano's nose has been fodder for the play, the movie, and many jokes. Set in the 17th Century, Cyrano's nose, and tale of love and woe has been retold countless times. This particular movie, though starring José Ferrer was a low budget black and white film. Cyrano's love for the lovely Roxanne is legendary, of course he thinks he is unworthy of Roxanne because of his nose while her love for Christian complicates things. . You most likely know the rest of the story.

Critics believe José Ferrer's superb acting and the beautiful costumes in this movie make it worth watching. If you've seen the 1990 version or the funny version played by Steve Martin you have to leave those behind and watch this for José Ferrer's performance.

Cyrano De Bergerac Nose Speech

Other 1950 Award Winners

Josephine Hull
Best Supporting Actress
Edna and Edward Anhalt
Best Story
Panic in the Streets
Deustch and Evans
Best Musical Score
Annie Get Your Gun
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Best Director
All About Eve
George Sanders
Best Supporting Actor
All About Eve

Sunset Boulevard

Adam's Rib


Nominees that did not win Awards

  • The Father of the Bride was a lovely film about a father going through the preparations for his daughter's wedding. Spencer Tracy played the father and Elizabeth Taylor the daughter.
  • Adventure film King Solomon's Mines starred Deborah Kerr and Stewart Granger searching unexplored Africa for Kerr's lost husband.
  • A film noir, Sunset Boulevard, is probably one of the most well known non-winners of all time. The story of a has been Hollywood silent film star named Norma Desmond played by Gloria Swanson, and the hapless screenwriter, William Holden, pulled into her life.
  • Broken Arrow is based on true historical events involving Cochise and a peace treaty. The treaty is opposed by Geronimo.
  • Adam's Rib is about two married lawyers who go up against each other in court. The lawyers are played by Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn.

There are more but the ones listed here should be enough to wet your whistle. I hope you've enjoyed this installment of Academy Awards Ceremonies. Please leave a comment.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved

"Bringing you movies that are part of your memories."


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    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Thank you Dolores. I must say I'm so glad we have Turner Classic Movies so we can watch those good movies over and over.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Some of my all time favorite movies! We were just talking about All About Eve - how I wanted to watch it again. We turned on the TV a few nights later and there were the closing credits! I must say that I shouted one very unladylike word. And Born Yesterday was fabulous. (I love reading your movie hubs)

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      That's all right Effer, remember "these boots are made for stalking". :)

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York seems my "peeping Tom," habit lately....makes me feel a bit like a "Stalker!!" LOL.....Hey, when one is addicted, one will resort to any means. I keep singing the famous Amy Winehouse song, what is it...I" Don't Wanna Go To ReHab?"......

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Effer, almost as much as I love you...I am not surprised you would like an actress with her style and ability to carry off comedy as well as good to see you popping in now and again.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Tilli...Hey gf...nice to be able to sit for a while and read such a great hub...from the '50' HAS to be good.

      Not to bypass so much of this wonderful read...but I must tell you how much I love Judy Holliday. "Born Yesterday," btw, just happens to be my favorite movie of hers. She was fabulous...the best. I loved the gist and moral of that movie. Her huge eyes and that "voice"....they were her gems......Way UP..++++

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I'm so glad you stopped by Careermommy. I love old Hollywood and that's what prompted my Oscar series. Glad you enjoyed.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      This is great information tillsontitan. I love Oscar trivia, old Hollywood and Entertainment in general. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thank you for bearing with me Moonlake, I knew sooner or later I'd get to some movies you've seen and enjoyed. Thanks ever so for the votes and share.

    • moonlake profile image


      6 years ago from America

      I'm old enough that I have seen all of these. I still watch old movies on TMC. Voted up and shared.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      drbj I think the best part about writing these hubs is getting comments like yours when I know people are enjoying them as much as I am.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      6 years ago from south Florida

      1951 was a banner year for great films, Mary. And you did them proud with this excellently researched hub. 'All About Eve' (in which Marilyn Monroe had a small walk-on part) was one of my all-time favorites, and close after that was 'Born Yesterday' with the delightful Judy Holliday.

      'Cyrano' was wonderful and I loved 'King Solomon's Mines' with the hunkable Stewart Granger. Thanks for this exceptional deja vu, m'dear.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thanks for reading Pamela. My hope is that I can bring these movies a new audience because I know how good most of them are.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This Academy Awards hub was really interesting. I didn't know most of those things since it was long ago, but I do remember seeing some of those wonderful moves after that time. I enjoyed this hub very much.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Thanks avianvoice. Hitting the fifties I have a feeling I will hear from more people who have seen the movies, whether they are classic fans or not. Glad you are enjoying!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I have seen a couple of these, and this piece certainly makes me want to see the rest. Great work, and keep on keeping on!

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Vinaya, now you've introduced me to a film I was not familiar with. I had no idea I was missing such a classic film! I will have to look for it.

      DDE, glad to expand your movie horizons ;)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      You have such great titles on Academy awards and I find it very interesting most what I had no idea of thanks

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal


      I'm learning so many things from your Academy awards hubs. I have always enjoyed classics, some of my best films belong to black and white era. I have even watched silent movies. I cannot remember the director or the exact year of production, but Intolerance (Silent movie) is one of my best movies of all time.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      I hope you get to see it Sheri, it is really a good movie, but I know I can't get my hubby to watch a lot of movies I like!

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 

      6 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      I love Bette Davis. I haven't seen All About Eve but will see if I can get my hubby to sit through it. Another great one and I am sure enjoying this series.

    • tillsontitan profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Yes Jools, All About Eve was brilliantly written. It was based on a story called "The Wisdom of Eve" though some changes were made for the movie. Spencer Tracy makes any movie a good one! Thanks for the votes and share.

      Paislee Gal, I know it is amazing none of them won an award. Elizabeth Taylor was just a very stunning young woman, no denying that. Thanks for the votes.

      You're right Bill, Adam's Rib was great. I could watch Spencer and Tracy till the cows come home! I hope you're right about the views ;) I started this series because of an "exclusive title" but then got hooked because of my love of old movies. I don't know what I'll do when I finish the fifties.

      Glad you enjoyed xstatic! Billy Holliday was sucked into the Communist scare and had some issues in 1952 but I can't find anywhere that says she quit acting.

      Thanks for the votes and shares Faith....oh dear, now I know how young you are, or is that how old I am ;) God bless.

      Joe, I am always so glad to see you as you say the nicest things ;) This really is fun for me and of course I've seen all of the movies, hmm, what does that say about me :) Aloha to you my friend.

      WND they did know how to play off of each other so well. There are some good comedies today but nothing to compare to the old ones.

      Oh Nell, we have to get Turner Classic Movies over there. They only show these movies. Thanks for the vote and share.

      Thank you so much Bill. It is nice to hear I have an audience :) I guess you're going to have to check out some fifties movies. Thanks too for the votes and share.

      You are so kind ytsenoh. I am glad I can bring back memories and help people have fun at the same time. I truly appreciate your "thumbs up" award...makes me all Siskel and Ebertie.

      Oh goodness MH, another favorite hubber who makes me feel old :) Good movies just keep on being good!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      The year I was born... yet, these movies were still showing at the Grand in the late 60s.

    • ytsenoh profile image


      6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      You do such a fine job in covering these Oscar movie subjects. So awesome! I remember "All About Eve" and "Adam's Rib." Loved those movies. Isn't it funny how over time, you see all these movies and forget about them? Then you write these great reviews and we get to relive them again. Thank you and thumbs up award!

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Mary. Another great look at the movies. For some reason I am not as familiar with the movies of 1950. I have seen Annie Get Your Gun but I think that might be it. I'm sure it was a good year for the movies I just haven't seen too many from this particular year. This is a great series and there are many of us who look forward to each and every installment so keep them coming. Great job. Voted up, shared, etc...

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi mary, another great Academy Awards, I have watched many of these films, and really miss the fact that they don't show them over here much anymore. They were great good old time movies, great hub, and voted and shared, nell

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      6 years ago from Alabama

      Adam's Rib and Father of the Bride were brilliant. The actors and actresses knew how to do their job. And they did their acting very well. At least we got these oldies to look forward to.

      Great job.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 

      6 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Evergreen, Mary, evergreen--that is the color of your special Academy Awards niche series!

      Well done, expertly researched and yet presented with a nice, simple, and down to earth delivery.

      II had no idea that Jose Ferrer played Cyrano so brilliantly. While the writing was tops, it was Ferrer's superb acting that made the Nose Speech scene so memorable! I'll have to see if I can get that movie!

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful article! You're tops at what you do, my friend! Aloha!


    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, what a great year no doubt! I really love Bette Davis, and those quotes you have here from the movie are hilarious and great . . . great addition.

      Another excellent and interesting hub here, and you are getting closer to the year I was born. Ha

      1951 was truly a great year for amazing movies at the Academy Awards.

      Voted up ++++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 

      6 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Just terrific! A great addition to the series Mary! I have actually seen almost all of these, some twice. King Solomon's Mines and Broken Arrow were a couple of early favorites. Sunset Boulevard was and remains a very watchable film, as do most of William Holden's. Born Yesterday and All About Eve were great ones too.

      Wasn't it Judy Holliday who turned her back on Hollywood and never came back despite this successful role?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Another great one! I loved "Adam's Rib"...two actors at the top of their game, in love, playing off of each other's brilliance...movies don't get any better than that, do they?

      Well done, Mary! I hope you are getting a ton of views from this series...more will come over time as these make their way around Google Land. :)

    • PaisleeGal profile image

      Pat Materna 

      6 years ago from Memphis, Tennessee, USA

      Mary, another good installment of the Academy Awards. I just recently saw Father of the Bride on TCM. It's always been one of my favorites of Tracy and Taylor too. She was so drop down gorgeous. All About Eve is a true classic story of stardom. All the acting in it is superb. Interesting 4 women from the same movie were nominated and none of them won!. Keep up the good work. Voted up, etc.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Mary, I thoroughly enjoyed this hub and was really surprised at just how many great movies were up for awards in 1951. My absolute favourite from this year is All About Eve. I never get tired of that movie. I actually downloaded a pdf of the script a few years ago and read it cover to cover - it is faultless. You could read it out as a radio play and it would still tell the story perfectly well, though seeing it on screen is even better.

      Bette Davis is at her absolute best in the movie and finally meets her match in manipulative little shrew, Eve! Other movies I enjoyed from 1951 - Born Yesterday but would find it dated now I think and Cyrano de Bergerac. And who doesn't love Father of The Bride, I love Spencer Tracy. Voted up etc and shared.


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