Best Picture: An American In Paris
An American In Paris also won Academy Awards for Color Art Direction-Set Decoration (Cedric Gibbons, Preston Ames, Edwin B. Willis, and Keogh Gleason), Color Cinematography (Alfred Gilks and John Alton), Color Costume Design (Orry-Kelly, Walter Plunkett, and Irene Sharaff), Music – Scoring of a Musical Picture (Johnny Green and Saul Chaplin), and Writing – Story and Screenplay (Alan Jay Lerner).
An American In Paris was only the third musical to win Best Picture. (The two previous winners were The Broadway Melody in 1928/29 and “The Great Ziegfeld” in 1936.)
Danny Kaye was the master of ceremonies.
A Streetcar Named Desire became the first film to win three awards for acting (Vivien Leigh for Best Actress, Karl Malden for Best Supporting Actor, and Kim Hunter for Best Supporting Actress).
In February 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting presidents to two terms, was ratified.
On March 2, 1951, the first NBA All-Star Game was played at the Boston Garden.
In March 1951, Hank Ketcham's comic strip Dennis the Menace appeared in U.S. newspapers for the first time.
On March 29, 1951, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, starring Yul Brynner, opened on Broadway.
On July 19, 1951, MGM's film version of Show Boat premiered at the Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles. It earned two nominations.
In July 1951, J.D. Salinger's only novel, The Catcher in the Rye, was published.
On October 3, 1951, Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants hit a home run off Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the National League Pennant. The game-winning hit is referred to as The Shot Heard 'Round the World.
On October 15, 1951, I Love Lucy debuted on CBS.
On November 24, 1951, the play Gigi, starring a relatively unknown actress named Audrey Hepburn, opened on Broadway.
Honorary Foreign Language Film Award
Japan – To Rashomon - voted by the Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1951.
To Gene Kelly in appreciation of his versatility as an actor, singer, director and dancer, and specifically for his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film.
Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
To Arthur Freed