It was the height of Hollywood's Golden Age, when the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Grace Kelly, and Elizabeth Taylor were turning in iconic performances and climbing up the A-list. Was there ever a more glamorous, exciting time to attend the Acacemy Awards? Spin through these classic pictures and decide for yourself. Pictured above: Kirk Douglas easing down the Oscars red carpet, full swagger in effect, in 1954.

Vintage Oscars: Best Photos of the 1950s

A flashback to the heyday of icons.

It was the height of Hollywood's Golden Age, when the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Marlon Brando, Grace Kelly, and Elizabeth Taylor were turning in iconic performances and climbing up the A-list. Was there ever a more glamorous, exciting time to attend the Acacemy Awards? Spin through these classic pictures and decide for yourself. Pictured above: Kirk Douglas easing down the Oscars red carpet, full swagger in effect, in 1954. Three to Tango Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Three to Tango Dancing backwards, in high heels, while juggling two gentleman: Ginger Rogers takes a spin with ol’ Oscar and her co-presenter George Murphy at the 1950 ceremony. A Real Nail-Biter Leonard McCombe/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images A Real Nail-Biter In 1954, “Roman Holiday” star Audrey Hepburn looks nervous while waiting to hear who's won Best Actress. (Surprise: She did!) Yes, Sweetheart, She’s Real Loomis Dean/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Yes, Sweetheart, She’s Real Looking every bit the princess, Elizabeth Taylor stops on the 1953 red carpet to sign an autograph for an admiring little girl. Cigars Were Smoked in the Making of This Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Cigars Were Smoked in the Making of This James Cagney and George Burns wear their bow ties well at the after-party at Romanoff’s. All Right, Mr. DeMille, She’s Ready for Her Oscar Slim Aarons/Getty Images All Right, Mr. DeMille, She’s Ready for Her Oscar Gloria Swanson, grande dame of “Sunset Boulevard,” anxiously awaits the announcement of 1950’s Best Actress. Her competition was stiff that year, with “All About Eve” stars Bette Davis and Ann Baxter also in the category. But the winner turned out to be the dark horse sitting right beside her… Shock to the Left, Awe to the Right Slim Aarons/Getty Images Shock to the Left, Awe to the Right Drama! While Judy Holliday gazes upon the Best Actress prize she’s just won for “Born Yesterday,” Swanson is comforted by Jose Ferrer. But a Happy Ending, After All New York Daily News Archive/NY Daily News via Getty Images But a Happy Ending, After All Neither Holliday nor Swanson could contain their joy as Ferrer made Oscar history that night, becoming the first Latino to win Best Actor (for 1950’s “Cyrano de Bergerac”). You’ll Want to Stay for the Credits Weegee(Arthur Fellig)/International Center of Photography/Getty Images You’ll Want to Stay for the Credits Among the winners in 1952 (presumably recorded for the reporters working backstage): classics including “A Place in the Sun,” “Rashomon,” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” No Problem: He’s Got Two Dozen More George Silk/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images No Problem: He’s Got Two Dozen More Backstage in 1954, Walt Disney masterminds another production: repairing one of the four Oscars he won that night. Over his career, Disney received 22 individual statues — still the record for most wins in Oscar history. From Here to Oscar History George Silk/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images From Here to Oscar History Frank Sinatra and Donna Reed, both winners in supporting categories for their movie “From Here to Eternity,” pose with presenter Mercedes McCambridge. Oh, Donna! Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Oh, Donna! Outside the ladies' room of an after-party at Romanoff’s, Esther Williams shows just how much she was rooting for Reed. White Is Very Good on Her Hulton Archive/Getty Images White Is Very Good on Her Liz’s date in 1954: her second husband, Michael Wilding. That Winning Moment Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images That Winning Moment Eva Marie Saint reacts upon being named 1955’s Best Supporting Actress (for “On the Waterfront”). Who Knew He Did Slapstick? Hulton Archive/Getty Images Who Knew He Did Slapstick? Marlon Brando, winner of Best Actor for “On the Waterfront,” goofs offs with Oscars host Bob Hope backstage at the 1955 show. The Fairy Tale Begins George Silk/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images The Fairy Tale Begins In 1955, Grace Kelly arrives for the big night at RKO Pantages Theater. She was nominated for Best Actress that year, for her performance in “The Country Girl.” That Ain’t a Pepper Grinder George Silk/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images That Ain’t a Pepper Grinder By the end of the night, Kelly (celebrating at an after-party) had a shiny new dinner companion. Beautiful Silhouettes Allan Grant/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Beautiful Silhouettes The next year, Kelly returned as a presenter, and, in this classic photo by LIFE photographer Allan Grant, is caught in a moment backstage with Audrey Hepburn. Bogie and Bacall, Royal Couple George Silk/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images Bogie and Bacall, Royal Couple Humphrey Bogart, nominated for “The Caine Mutiny,” and his wife Lauren Bacall give bystanders a thrill in 1955. Blond Ambition Hulton Archive/Getty Images Blond Ambition Actresses Cleo Moore and Jayne Mansfield cozy up to the man of the evening, 1956. At Least, We THINK It’s Coffee... Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images At Least, We THINK It’s Coffee... What Frank Sinatra wants, Frank Sinatra gets — and that includes a cuppa joe, backstage in 1956. All Eyes on Them J. R. Eyerman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images All Eyes on Them Paul Newman takes his wife Joanne Woodward for a congratulatory spin on the dance floor at the Governors Ball after-party in 1958. She’d just won Best Actress, for “The Three Faces of Eve.” A Dizzying Ride Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images A Dizzying Ride Meet Kim Novak, 1956’s ingenue. By then she’d won attention with “Picnic,” but “Vertigo,” her most famous film, was still two years ahead. The Kings and I Michael Ochs Archives The Kings and I In 1957, Elizabeth Taylor gets a smooch from her third husband, producer Mike Todd (a winner for “Around the World in 80 Days”), and actor Yul Brynner (winner for “The King and I”). ...And the Crowd Goes Wild George Silk/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images ...And the Crowd Goes Wild Fans cheer for the movie stars of 1954.