Golden Globes drama winner the year you were born
For a long time, the Golden Globes hung its credibility on its position as Academy Award prognosticator. Unfortunately for the Hollywood Foreign Press, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver looked into the claim in 2013 and found that over the past 25 years, the Golden Globes’ Best Picture—Drama only correlated with the Best Picture Oscar 48% of the time. In fact, the Director Guild of America’s awards were the most predictive, matching the Oscars 80% of the time.
Whether or not the Golden Globe Awards accurately predicts Oscar winners, the show is still something audiences tune in for each year. The awards began in 1944 with dramas, comedies, and musicals all considered for Best Picture. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association separated the category in two in 1951: drama, and musical or comedy.
While you're waiting to find out which film will take the cake at this year's awards, scroll through the slideshow to find out who won the Golden Globes' Best Picture in Drama the year you were born, beginning with 1944.
1952: A Place in the Sun
Director: George Stevens
This 1952 classic tells the story of George Eastman (Montgomery Clift), a new arrival in California who falls for two women—a factory worker (Shelley Winters) whom he gets pregnant, and a high-society beauty played by Elizabeth Taylor. George is a social climber, but his first love won’t let him get away that easy.
Runners-up: "Bright Victory," "Detective Story," "Quo Vadis," "A Streetcar Named Desire"
1953: The Greatest Show on Earth
Director: Cecil B. DeMille
If you had to write an elevator pitch for Cecil B. DeMille’s "The Greatest Show on Earth," it could be, “Love triangles, risky tricks, guilty clowns, and crime at the circus.” And that only starts to explain the weird, wonderful classic starring James Stewart, Betty Hutton, and Charlton Heston.
Runners-up: "Come Back, Little Sheba," "The Happy Time," "High Noon," "The Thief"
1954: The Robe
Director: Henry Koster
"The Robe" tells the story of the first-century Roman leader Marcellus Gallio (Richard Burton) who gets the order to crucify Jesus of Nazareth. Once the horrible deed is done, Gallio wins Jesus’ robe, but is haunted by a guilty conscience—so he searches through Palestine to understand more about the life of the man he killed.
1955: On the Waterfront
Director: Elia Kazan
Marlon Brando burst on the scene in 1951 with his performance as Stanley Kowalski in "Streetcar Named Desire," but some argue that it was his performance as fighter-turned-longshoreman Terry Malloy that showed the range of his talents. "On the Waterfront" tells the story of Malloy standing up against the corrupt union bosses who have killed his brother and best friend.
1956: East of Eden
Director: Elia Kazan
Based on the John Steinbeck masterpiece, "East of Eden" tells the story of a young man (James Dean) trying to win the love of his religious father (Raymond Massey), who clearly favors his brother (Richard Davalos). Eventually, in this Cain and Abel retelling, Dean’s character falls for his brother’s girlfriend (Julie Harris). This was James Dean’s first starring role in a film, and one of only three movies he starred in that were released before his untimely death.
1957: Around the World in 80 Days
Director: Michael Anderson
Although the 2004 film retelling of this Jules Verne novel left a fair amount to be desired, the 1957 version is a wonderful, cheerful romp. David Niven plays a Victorian Englishman who wagers that he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days.
Runners-up: "Giants," "Lust for Life," "The Rainmaker," "War and Peace"
1958: The Bridge on the River Kwai
Director: David Lean
Often lauded as one of the greatest movies ever made, "The Bridge on the River Kwai" tells the story of a group of British World War II prisoners-of-war, tasked with building a bridge for their Japanese captors. David Lean, who also directed "Lawrence of Arabia," is a master at war epics that manage to investigate the interior life of people at war. Alec Guinness won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role as Col. Nicholson.
Runners-up: "12 Angry Men," "Sayonara," "Wild is the Wind," "Witness for the Prosecution"
1959: The Defiant Ones
Director: Stanley Kramer
This film tells the story of two convicts (played by Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis) who escape from a transport truck and must evade authorities while chained together. The two men—one black and one white—hate each other, but must learn to coexist in order to stay out of the grips of the law. The film tackles a social issue with a level of grace (much of it due to the genius of Poitier), especially impressive given the state of the country in 1959.
Runners-up: "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," "Homes Before Dark," "I Want to Live!" "Separate Tables"
Director: William Wyler
In this Mount Rushmore of epics, "Ben-Hur" tells the story of a Jewish prince sent into slavery who comes back for revenge after winning his freedom. The film stars Charlton Heston in the role of Judah Ben-Hur, who won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance. The legendary biblical epic is fantastic throughout, but its chariot race scene is the best part—it’s considered one of the greatest action sequences ever filmed.
Runners-up: "Anatomy of a Murder," "The Diary of Anne Frank," "The Nun’s Story," "On the Beach"
Director: Stanley Kubrick
In 73 B.C., a slave named Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) leads a revolt at a gladiator school—and the freed slaves begin a revolt that continues to build as more men are freed to fight. After many battles, the army led by Spartacus must face off with the Romans. This Stanley Kubrick film is the first in an impressive five-movie run: "Spartacus," "Lolita," "Dr. Strangelove," "2001: A Space Odyssey," and "A Clockwork Orange."
Runners-up: "Elmer Gantry," "Inherit the Wind," "Sons and Lovers," "Sunrise at Campobello"