Nikon just announced their newly redesigned AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G lens among all of the hubbub at Photokina. Nikon's 50mm combines great optical design with low light performance and their Silent Wave Motor, making this optic a top choice for existing light photography.
Along with the new Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and offerings by other manufacturers, I would say that the 50mm lens is back in business. Mounting these reengineered optics on new high-resolution sensors gives photographers access to exciting, gritty image-making, and at a reasonable cost. Personally, I love it!