Oscar Nominations: Shocking Stats and Fun Facts (Analysis)

THR's awards analyst on the stat that suggests best pic is between 'The Big Short' and 'Spotlight'; new records set by Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone and 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; and much more.
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Sylvester Stallone

What a morning. The 88th Oscar nominations were announced on Thursday at the Beverly Hills headquarters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Revenant landed a field-leading 12 noms, followed close behind by Mad Max: Fury Road, with 10. The other headlines?

In: The Big Short's director Adam McKay; Room's director Lenny Abrahamson; Joy's lead actress Jennifer Lawrence; The Revenant's Tom Hardy; The Hateful Eight's supporting actress Jennifer Jason Leigh; both Netflix doc features, What Happened, Miss Simone? and Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom; and "Til It Happens to You," the original song by Lady Gaga and seven-time Oscar bridesmaid Diane Warren.

Out: The Martian's director Ridley Scott; Bridge of Spies' director Steven Spielberg; Straight Outta Compton for best picture; every actor of color, including The Hateful Eight's Samuel L. Jackson, Concussion's Will Smith, Creed's Michael B. Jordan and Beasts of No Nation's Idris Elba; Carol and The Hateful Eight for best picture, meaning no Weinstein Co. film in the best picture category, something almost unheard of in recent decades; Steve Jobs' Aaron Sorkin and The Hateful Eight's Quentin Tarantino in the screenplay categories; and "See You Again," the Paul Walker tribute song from Furious 7.

Today brought the first-ever noms for, among others: Room's Abrahamson, Big Short's director and co-screenwriter McKay, Trumbo's lead actor Bryan Cranston, Room's lead actress Brie Larson, 45 Years' lead actress Charlotte Rampling, The Revenant's supporting actor Hardy, Bridge of Spies' supporting actor Mark Rylance, The Hateful Eight's supporting actress Leigh, Spotlight's supporting actress Rachel McAdams, The Danish Girl's supporting actress Alicia Vikander, Carol's composer Carter Burwell and The Hunting Ground's Gaga.

If any film other than The Big Short or Spotlight wins best picture, it will be the first time in 20 years — since 1995's Braveheart — that the prize went to a film that wasn't nominated for the best ensemble SAG Award.

While the film with the most Oscar noms often wins best picture, The Revenant, which leads the field with 12, will need to defy a lot of history to be this year's winner, as only seven films ever have won without a screenplay nom, including only one in the last 50 years, Titanic (1997). The others: Wings (1927/1928), The Broadway Melody (1928/1929), Grand Hotel (1931/1932), Cavalcade (1932/1933), Hamlet (1948) and The Sound of Music (1965).

Sylvester Stallone's supporting actor nom for his portrayal of Rocky Balboa in Creed, 39 years after his lead actor nom for his portrayal of the same character in Rocky, sets a record for most years between nominations for portrayals of the same character; the record previously belonged to Paul Newman, who received a best actor nom for his portrayal of "Fast Eddie" Felson in The Hustler (1961) and won for his portrayal of the same character 25 years later in The Color of Money (1986). Only four others received multiple noms for playing the same character: Bing Crosby for Father O'Malley, Peter O'Toole for King Henry II, Al Pacino for Michael Corleone and Cate Blanchett for Queen Elizabeth II.

The only characters that have been recognized with more noms than the two now accorded to Rocky Balboa are Queen Elizabeth I and King Henry VIII, each three times.

Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant become only the fourth and fifth films ever to receive noms in all seven technical categories (cinematography, costume design, film editing, production design/art direction, sound editing, sound mixing and visual effects), joining 1997's Titanic, 2003's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and 2011's Hugo.

The best picture nom for The Revenant marks the third year in a row that a film from Arnon Milchan's New Regency, which is run by Brad Weston, is in the running; its 12 Years a Slave and Birdman both won best picture, and a win for The Revenant would mark an unprecedented three-peat.

With his ninth nom for producing a best picture nominee, Bridge of Spies' Spielberg moves into sole possession of the record for most all-time, passing former collaborator Kathleen Kennedy (Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

This marks the second consecutive nom for The Revenant's director and co-screenwriter Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Danish Girl's lead actor Eddie Redmayne, Spotlight's supporting actor Mark Ruffalo and The Hunting Ground's Warren. (With a win for directing, Inarritu would tie a record currently held by John Ford and Joseph L. Mankiewicz for most consecutive wins in that category, two. Redmayne, with a win for best actor, would tie the record currently held by Spencer Tracy and Tom Hanks for most consecutive best actor wins, two.)

Joy's lead actress Jennifer Lawrence, 25, sets a new record as the youngest person ever to land four acting nominations.

This marks the third consecutive nom for The Revenant's cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. (With a win for cinematography, he would establish a new record for most consecutive wins in that category, three, breaking the record he currently shares with Leon Shamroy, Winton Hoch and John Toll, who all won two.)

Several perennial bridesmaids — The Hunting Ground's Warren (this is her eighth nomination), Sicario's cinematographer Roger Deakins (his 13th, extending his record for most among living lensers) and Bridge of Spies' composer Thomas Newman (his 13th) — have another shot at gold.

Several people received multiple noms today: The Big Short's McKay, for best director and best adapted screenplay; Spotlight's McCarthy, for best director and best original screenplay; Sandy Powell, nominated for best costume design for both Carol and Cinderella; and Andy Nelson, nominated for best sound editing for both Bridge of Spies and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens' composer John Williams extends his record for most Oscar noms for a living person from 49 to 50.

Racing Extinction's original song "Manta Ray" becomes only the 22nd nomination for a documentary outside of the documentary categories, and only the sixth for a song. (It's J. Ralph's second, after "Before My Time" from 2012's Chasing Ice.)

The Hateful Eight's Ennio Morricone, 87, sets a new record for oldest nominee for the best original score award.

With its best foreign-language film nom for Mustang, France extends its record for most noms in that category from 39 to 40; it has won the category 12 times, second only to Italy (14).

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