CULTURE & ARTS
02/20/2017 08:20 am ET

Amazing Dance Photos From Musicals That Won Best Picture

Before we watch "La La Land" aim for the top Oscar prize, look back at Oscar-winning dance scenes that came before.

Whether “La La Land” — and its history-making turn this awards season — has you celebrating or bemoaning its winks at classic American musicals, there’s no denying the Damien Chazelle–directed film has made its mark. It’s up for a record-tying 14 awards at the 89th annual Academy Awards on Feb. 26, including Best Picture.

It isn’t common for a production with singing and dancing to snag the Oscars’ top spot — the last to do so was “Chicago” in 2003. We wanted to look back at some of the other movie-musicals that took home the Best Picture statue over the years. Here are four of them:

 

“The Broadway Melody” (1929)

This was one of the first musicals to be seen on screen and the first sound film to ever take home the Best Picture statue at the 2nd Academy Awards. “The Broadway Melody” remains only one of three films in Oscars history to take home Best Picture and no other awards.

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Charles King and Anita Page, stars of the film, stand with dancers in front of a Manhattan backdrop.
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Charles King and Anita Page, stars of the film, stand with dancers in front of a Manhattan backdrop.
Bessie Love and Charles King.
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Bessie Love and Charles King.
John Springer Collection via Getty Images

”The Great Ziegfeld” (1936)

This flashy film was a cinematic adaptation of Broadway’s “Ziegfeld Follies.” It took home Best Picture along with Best Actress and Best Dance Direction at the 9th Academy Awards, but critics at the time called it “a bit wearing” for its length and the story “fragmentary and, in some places, confused.”

Apparently, this costume required 3,000 yards of marabou.
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Apparently, this costume required 3,000 yards of marabou.
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William Powell and Luise Rainer.
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William Powell and Luise Rainer.

”An American in Paris” (1951)

Imagine a movie today where 17 minutes of screen time was devoted to a single dance. “An American in Paris” pulled it off, with its famous ballet scene making it a memorable winner of the 24th Academy Awards. The film stands the test of time, boasting a 95 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Gene Kelly dances with Leslie Caron.
John Springer Collection via Getty Images
Gene Kelly dances with Leslie Caron.
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Georges Guetary singing "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise."
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Georges Guetary singing "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise."
John Springer Collection via Getty Images
John Springer Collection via Getty Images

“West Side Story” (1961)

The skirts! The tough guys! The finger snaps! The film adaptation of the “Romeo and Juliet”-esque 1957 Broadway musical won 10 of its 11 nominated categories at the 34th Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress. It’s the winningest musical in Oscars history — and to that, we say, Krup you!

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Rita Moreno and George Chakiris hit the dance floor.
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Rita Moreno and George Chakiris hit the dance floor.
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Russ Tamblyn as the leader of the Jets.
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Russ Tamblyn as the leader of the Jets.
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One of the "Jets vs. Sharks" scenes filmed on New York City sidewalks.
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One of the "Jets vs. Sharks" scenes filmed on New York City sidewalks.
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