Katharine Hepburn Billy Wilder

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Click on one of these decades to read about the major stars and movies of the time:

Intro | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s

Films are listed as winners in the year the ceremony was held

This decade was dominated by some of the biggest directorial names ever to grace cinema - David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock, Eliza Kazan, John Huston and John Ford all produced masterpieces in the 1950s.

It was the decade that spawned Vertigo, Bridge on the River Kwai, On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire and The African Queen.

Marlon Brando, one of Hollywood's brightest stars emerged in the 1950s. He earned five nominations but had to wait until 1954 before he received the Oscar for his leading role in On the Waterfront.

Katharine Hepburn continued to demonstrate her incredible longevity - nominated twice in the 1930s and 1940s, she received three nominations in the 1950s, four the decade to follow and won a final Oscar in 1982.

No other actress has had such durable appeal or been so successful at the Oscars. Yet she never picked up an award in person.

The films that dominated the period are a mix of the sublime and ridiculous. The Academy got it right when awarding best picture awards to All About Eve in 1951 and From Here to Eternity in 1955.

But the members were off the mark awarding best film to An American in Paris in 1952 (beating A Streetcar Named Desire) and Around the World in Eighty Days in 1957.

The following year they did it again, awarding The Greatest Show on Earth the best picture - even presenter Mary Pickford seemed shocked when she announced the winner.


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