|An American in Paris (left) tied A Place in the Sun (right) in '51.|
Whenever a Best Picture winner receives five or more awards in a given year, other Best Picture nominees (or even just other nominees) from that year typically win four or less awards. For example, The Hurt Locker (2009) won six awards, including Best Picture, and Avatar (2009) only won three.
However, 1951 holds the distinction of being the only 6/6 split, which is also the largest one, between two Best Picture frontrunners: An American in Paris and A Place in the Sun. The former film walked away with Best Picture, Best Story and Screenplay, Best Art Direction (Color), Best Cinematography (Color), Best Costume Design (Color), and Best Musical Score. Meanwhile, the latter won awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography (B&W), Best Costume Design (B&W), Best Film Editing, and Best Dramatic/Comedy Score. Obviously the separate categories for black-and-white and color films helped their tallies, but this stat remains a unique occurrence that will probably never happen again.