In a way, Gene Kelly has no one to blame but himself. If he hadn’t starred in 1951’s Best Picture, An American in Paris, he might not have suffered one of the worst snubs in history when Singin’ in the Rain’s chances went down the drain the following year.
Now considered Hollywood’s greatest musical, Singin’ in the Rain had everything going for it Oscar-wise. It was a critical and commercial hit, and it’s a grand film about Hollywood–witty, beautifully choreographed, photographed, directed, scored, sung, danced and acted.
It’s hard to choose among the great numbers: Donald O’Connor’s goofball-antics stumblefest, “Make ’em Laugh”; Debbie Reynolds’ beyond bouncy “Good Morning”; O’Connor and Kelly’s sublimely silly “Moses Supposes”; or Kelly’s sprawling, mock-arty showstopper, “Broadway Melody.”
In fact, Singin’ in the Rain wasn’t just snubbed for Best Picture, it was curiously absent from all major categories. It didn’t even win Best Score for a Musical–that honor went to With a Song in My Heart. Which puts an arrow through ours.
Nominees: High Noon, Ivanhoe, Moulin Rouge, The Quiet Man
Winner: The Greatest Show on Earth