It won the Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture. In 2001, Kevin Spacey purchased this Oscar statuette at a Butterfield & Butterfield auction and returned it to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Anchors Aweigh was also nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Gene Kelly), Best Cinematography, Color (Robert Planck, Charles P. Boyle), Best Music, Song (for Jule Styne (music) and Sammy Cahn (lyrics) for "I Fall in Love Too Easily") and Best Picture.
The movie is famous for a musical number where Gene Kelly dances with Jerry Mouse (voiced by Sara Berner). Kelly is live action while Jerry is animated. Tom Cat appears briefly in the sequence as a butler. Originally, the producers wanted to use Mickey Mouse for this segment. Walt Disney agreed, but Roy Disney cut the deal. According to Bob Thomas' book on Roy Disney, the studio was in debt after World War II and they were focusing on trying to get their own films out on time. According to Roy, they had no business making cartoons for other people.
The film offers rare glimpses of the MGM studio, including the Thalberg Building, the backlot, the commissary, and one of the soundstages, as well as an on-screen performance by the studio orchestra. There is also a memorable scene at the Hollywood Bowl, where Sinatra sings "I Fall in Love Too Easily", after Iturbi and a group of young pianists have performed a spectacular arrangement of Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. In the audition scene with Iturbi, Grayson sings a special arrangement for soprano and orchestra of the waltz from Peter Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings. Many of the memorable scenes in this film were later featured in the That's Entertainment! tributes to MGM.