29th Academy Awards

During the 29th Academy Awards, the regular competitive category of Best Foreign Language Film was introduced, instead of only being recognized as a Special Achievement Award or as a Best Picture nominee (as in 1938). The first winner in this new category was Federico Fellini's La strada with Anthony Quinn and a second nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Its win would help spur an interest in foreign-language films. Another Fellini film, Nights of Cabiria would win the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in the following year.

This was also the first year that all of the five Best Picture nominees were in color.
All of the major awards winners were large-scale epics - Mike Todd's Around the World in Eighty Days, The King and I, Anastasia, Giant, Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (the highest grossing film of the year), King Vidor's War and Peace, and William Wyler's Friendly Persuasion. And the trend toward blockbusters and colorful spectaculars was established for years to come, with The Bridge on the River Kwai, Gigi, and Ben-Hur being subsequent Best Picture champions.

The Best Original Story category had two interesting quirks this year. First, the Oscar for Best Original Story went to Robert Rich (also known as Dalton Trumbo) for The Brave One. Trumbo was blacklisted at the time so he could not get screen credit under his own name. Second, Edward Bernds and Elwood Ullman withdrew their names from consideration in this category for their work on High Society. The nomination was apparently intended for the musical starring Grace Kelly, but Bernds and Ullman had instead worked on a Bowery Boys movie of the same title. Indeed, this nomination was a double mistake. High Society was based on the play and movie The Philadelphia Story and probably would not have qualified as an original story anyway.

It was here that James Dean became the only actor to receive a second posthumous - and consecutive - nomination for acting.

Director John Ford's classic western The Searchers, widely seen as one of the best American films of all time, failed to receive a single nomination.

The 1956 Academy Award Winners

Picture: Around the World in 80 Days
Actor: Yul Brynner (The King and I)
Actress: Ingrid Bergman (Anastasia)
Supporting Actor: Anthony Quinn (Lust for Life)
Supporting Actress: Dorothy Malone (Written on the Wind)
Director: George Stevens (Giant)
Adapted Screenplay: James Poe, John Farrow, and S.J. Perelman (Around the World in 80 Days)
Original Screenplay: Dalton Trumbo (aka Robert Rich) (The Brave One) / Albert Lamorisse (The Red Balloon)
Song: "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" (The Man Who Knew Too Much)
Score: Around the World in 80 Days / The King and I
Cinematography: Somebody Up There Likes Me (Black and White) / Around the World in 80 Days (Color)
Costume Design: The Solid Gold Cadillac (Black and White) / The King and I (Color)
Art / Set Decoration: Somebody Up There Likes Me (Black and White) / The King and I (Color)
Film Editing: Around the World in 80 Days
Foreign Language Film: La Strada (Italy)
Sound: The King and I
Special Effects: The Ten Commandments
Short Films: Mister Magoo's Puddle Jumper (Cartoons) / Crashing the Water Barrier (One-Reel) / The Bespoke Overcoat (Two-Reel)
Documentaries: The True Story of the Civil War (Short) / The Silent World (Feature)