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Golden Globes Best Picture in Musical or Comedy from the year you were born

  • Golden Globes Best Picture in Comedy/Musical from the year you were born

    The 77th Golden Globes arrive on Jan. 5, continuing the esteemed tradition of recognizing the best in film and television. The category for Best Picture - Musical or Comedy has been awarded annually since 1951, with the exception of 1953 when there was no award given. This year's nominees for Best Picture - Musical or Comedy are "Dolemite Is My Name," "Jojo Rabbit," "Knives Out," "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," and "Rocketman." 


    Whichever film takes home the award, it will be preceded by a long line of mostly iconic winners in the category of Best Musical or Comedy. Some represented major upsets while others were predicted well in advance. Each one was chosen by a board of just 88 members, meaning it’s inevitable that there will be total misfires in any given category. On the flip side of that coin, numerous Golden Globe winners have gone on to earn similar honors at the Academy Awards. Will that happen during this upcoming awards season? Only time can tell.

    Today, Stacker is looking backward instead. With more than seven decades of history behind it, the Golden Globes has a vast well of previous winners to explore and enjoy. To prove as much, Stacker has compiled a list of all winners of the Golden Globe Award for "Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy" over the years and organized them chronologically (data last updated December 2019). One will notice right away that musicals dominated the ceremony’s earliest era, eventually giving way to comedy’s ongoing reign. That said, a Hollywood musical still rears its head every now and then, such as it did when “La La Land” took awards season by storm.

    A quick note: From 1959 to 1963, the HFPA divided Best Musical and Best Comedy into two separate categories. We’ve included the Best Comedy winners, making mention of the Best Musical for that same year. We’ve also listed films by the year they were released, rather than the year they won the award. (For example, our winner listed for 1951 was released that year, but is listed by the Golden Globes as the winner in 1952.)

    Without further delay, here are the Best Musical or Comedy winners from the year you were born.

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  • 1951: An American in Paris

    - Director: Vincente Minnelli
    - IMDb user rating: 7.2
    - Metascore: 84
    - Runtime: 114 min

    Inspired by George Gershwin’s 1928 composition of the same name, this romantic musical centers on a love triangle between three Americans in Paris. Star Gene Kelly choreographed the movie’s iconic song-and-dance numbers, including an outrageously expensive and elaborate ballet sequence. After snagging the Golden Globe, it went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

  • 1952: With a Song in My Heart

    - Director: Walter Lang
    - IMDb user rating: 6.8
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 117 min

    Tragedy leads to triumph in this 1952 biopic, which tells the true story of singer and plane crash survivor Jane Froman. The real-life Froman was not only a technical advisor on the film, but she also provided all the singing for lead actress Susan Hayward. In addition to winning Best Musical or Comedy, the film earned Hayward a Golden Globe for Best Actress.

  • 1954: Carmen Jones

    - Director: Otto Preminger
    - IMDb user rating: 6.8
    - Metascore: 65
    - Runtime: 105 min

    Like the Broadway production before it, this musical drama reimagines a 19th-century opera by way of new lyrics and an African American cast. While stars Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge were accomplished singers, they still relied on dubbed vocals from opera legends LeVern Hutcherson and Marilyn Horne. Belafonte had just one film credit to his name when he was cast in the lead role as a soldier named Joe.

  • 1955: Guys and Dolls

    - Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
    - IMDb user rating: 7.2
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 150 min

    A celebrated Broadway musical leaped onto the big screen in 1955, chronicling two high-stakes gamblers and their gals. Despite the film’s uplifting vibe, Hollywood mega-stars Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando did not get along behind the scenes. Brando reportedly flubbed takes on purpose, forcing the famously impatient Sinatra to perform the same bit over and over again.

  • 1956: The King and I

    - Director: Walter Lang
    - IMDb user rating: 7.4
    - Metascore: 72
    - Runtime: 133 min

    Up against four comedies at the 1957 Golden Globes, this smash-hit musical was the obvious pick for Best Picture in its respective category. It would go on to win five Academy Awards out of a whopping nine nominations. The film remains banned in Thailand (formerly Siam) over its portrayal of King Mongkut, played by Yul Brynner.

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  • 1957: Les Girls

    - Director: George Cukor
    - IMDb user rating: 6.6
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 114 min

    Gene Kelly’s last musical with MGM won big at the Golden Globes but failed to connect with audiences. Presenting the exploits of a dance troupe from multiple perspectives, it takes direct cues from Akira Kurosawa’s “Rashomon.” Composer Cole Porter provided the music and lyrics.

  • 1958: Auntie Mame

    - Director: Morton DaCosta
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 143 min

    From 1959 to 1963, the HFPA divided Best Musical and Best Comedy into two separate categories. That led to a Best Comedy win for this Technicolor adaptation, about the relationship between a swing-era socialite and her recently orphaned nephew. The film “Gigi” won for Best Musical.

  • 1959: Some Like It Hot

    - Director: Billy Wilder
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Metascore: 97
    - Runtime: 121 min

    Challenging Hollywood codes at the time, this hit comedy finds two male musicians hiding out from the mob in an all-female band. In addition to winning Best Comedy at the Globes, "Some Like It Hot" earned Best Actor and Actress awards for Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. The ill-fated “Porgy and Bess” won for Best Musical that same year.

  • 1960: The Apartment

    - Director: Billy Wilder
    - IMDb user rating: 8.3
    - Metascore: 94
    - Runtime: 125 min

    Once again exploring somewhat controversial terrain, director Billy Wilder set this biting comedy against a backdrop of illicit corporate behavior. It won multiple Golden Globes along with other major awards, including five Oscars. “Song Without End” won the Golden Globe for Best Musical that same year.

  • 1961: A Majority of One

    - Director: Mervyn LeRoy
    - IMDb user rating: 6.9
    - Metascore: data not available
    - Runtime: 156 min

    The same year that “West Side Story” took the country by storm, Rosalind Russell and Alec Guinness co-starred in this Best Comedy winner. Depicting the love story between a Japanese businessman and a Brooklyn widow, it landed actress Russell her fourth Golden Globe. Over in the Best Musical category, things went exactly as one might expect.

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