Everyone seems to make a big deal out of the fact that James Cagney won his one and only Academy Award for playing song-and-dance man George M. Cohan when he was best known for his rogues' gallery of gangsters and tough guys. But Yankee Doodle Dandy was far from Cagney's first musical; he previously starred in such other tuners as Footlight Parade and Something to Sing About, among others. Furthermore, he would again play Cohan in The Seven Little Foys.
Back to Yankee Doodle, the film was nominated for a total of eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for Michael Curtiz and Best Supporting Actor for Walter Huston. In addition to Cagney's win, the film's music and sound also won.
Yankee Doodle Dandy airs at 2:45 AM EST Wednesday morning on Turner Classic Movies.