An American in Paris (1951)
What is it? Gene Kelly stars as a struggling musician in, well, Paris, who is pursued by an heiress but in love with a French dancer. Cue the dancing girls!
Why did it win? Something went a bit kablooie with the Oscars in the 1950s, and it started here. Suddenly frothy musicals with high production values and blinding Technicolor began to sweep all before them as if it were the dawn of the talkies again. Admittedly, Kelly's song-and-dance numbers were sweeping and numbers like I Got Rhythm are classics - but the undeserved win here crippled a much better Kelly musical's chances the following year, which adds insult to this victory.
Did it deserve to win? That'd be a big hell no. A Streetcar Named Desire was among the defeated nominees, and films like An Ace in the Hole and The African Queen didn't even make the shortlist. The other defeated nominees were war movie Decision Before Dawn, melodrama A Place in the Sun and Roman epic Quo Vadis.
Worth a look? Yes, but only if you enjoy interminable ballet numbers.