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Of Course Les Miserables Won Best Picture Last Night, or Charting the Golden Globes' Love Affair with Movie Musicals

Of Course Les Miserables Won Best Picture Last Night, or Charting the Golden Globes' Love Affair with Movie Musicals
Best Picture winners (clockwise from top left) 'Moulin Rouge!,' 'An American in Paris,' 'Dreamgirls,' 'Les Miserables,' Guys & Dolls,' West Side Story,' 'Evita' & 'Sweeney Todd'
'Les Miserables' is actually the 27th movie musical to win the top prize at the Golden Globes.

Hurray! Les Miserables won the Best Picture trophy at last night's Golden Globe Awards. Wait, or did Ben Affleck's Argo take home the big prize? Of course, they both were named best pictures of the year, one of the silly pleasures of Hollywood's kookiest award shows.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has long presented two Best Picture prizes, one for Drama (congrats, Argo!) and the other for "Musical or Comedy," an ironic award to bestow upon Les Miz, the most dramatic musical of all, in which only a handful of characters live to see the credits roll.

Then again, wasn't it obvious that Les Miz would win this mishmash category, despite divided reviews from major critics? In recent history, other Broadway-to-Hollywood transfers like Evita, Chicago, Dreamgirls and Sweeney Todd easily took the trophy, and less-acclaimed offerings like The Phantom of the Opera, Hairspray, Mamma Mia! and, yes, even Nine, were all nominated.

Clearly, the Hollywood Foreign Press loves a good song and dance. Below are some fun facts about the Golden Globes' long love affair with musicals.


The Golden Globes were first presented in 1943, with just one award given for Best Picture. In 1951, the split categories were introduced, with An American in Paris becoming the first musical winner. In the early 1960s, the fate of the movie musical looked so good that the Globes actually presented three separate Best Picture awards, one for drama, one for comedy and one for musicals (classics like The Music Man and West Side Story won during this time).


By often including musical biopics or soundtrack-heavy rock movies, the Golden Globes' definition of a musical is looser than the average Broadway fan's. Movies with a good deal of onstage singing often fit the bill, like past Best Picture winners A Star is Born (the Barbra Streisand version!), Coal Miner's Daughter and Walk the Line.


Even during the Dark Ages of the Movie Musical (the 20 years between Cabaret and Chicago), the Globes went out of their way to try to honor musicals, nominating releases like Tommy, Funny Lady, Jesus Christ Superstar, Bugsy Malone, New York, New York, Hair, Grease, Pennies from Heaven, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Little Shop of Horrors and (take a deep breath, Broadway purists!) A Chorus Line. The now-iconic film version of Annie was a notable snub during this period.


The Golden Globes also split the lead acting categories, giving awards to many legendary movie musical performances that weren't even nominated for Oscars. Among them are Jean Simmons in Guys and Dolls, Frank Sinatra in Pal Joey, Rosalind Russell in Gypsy, Richard Harris in Camelot, Twiggy in The Boyfriend, Bernadette Peters in Pennies from Heaven, Madonna in Evita and Richard Gere in Chicago.


Of the 27 musicals that have taken home the musical or comedy Best Picture prize at the Golden Globes, only seven of them have also won the Academy Award for Best Picture: An American in Paris, Gigi, West Side Story, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Oliver! and Chicago. Of course, Les Miserables is up for the big prize at this year's Oscars.

A complete list of movie musicals that have won the Best Picture trophy at the Golden Globes follows. Keep in mind, these are musicals as defined by the Hollywood Foreign Press, not Broadway.com!

1944 - Going My Way
1951 - An American in Paris
1952 - With a Song in My Heart
1954 - Carmen Jones
1955 - Guys and Dolls
1957 - Les Girls
1958 - Gigi
1960 - Song Without End
1961 - West Side Story
1962 - The Music Man
1964 - My Fair Lady
1965 - The Sound of Music
1968 - Oliver!
1971 - Fiddler on the Roof
1972 - Cabaret
1976 - A Star is Born
1980 - Coal Miner's Daughter
1983 - Yentl
1991 - Beauty and the Beast
1994 - The Lion King
1996 - Evita
2001 - Moulin Rouge!
2002 - Chicago
2005 - Walk the Line
2006 - Dreamgirls
2007 - Sweeney Todd
2012 - Les Miserables

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