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For Oscar buffs — read “Oscar geeks” — like me, one of the great thrills of each year’s Academy Awards nominations announcement is the opportunity to dig through the eight-plus decades of Oscar record books and investigate. There’s no way to truly compare the classics of yesteryear with the finest films of today, but in a weird way this allows us to do something like that — and, while that’s not particularly useful, it sure is a blast to do! So, without further ado, here are the fun factoids and shocking stats that I’ve come up with about the new crop of Oscar nominees.
- The Weinstein Co.’s Silver Linings Playbook becomes only the 14th film to ever receive at least one Oscar nomination in each of the four acting categories and the first to do so in 31 years. The others: My Man Godfrey (1936), Mrs. Miniver (1942), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Johnny Belinda (1948), Sunset Blvd. (1950), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), From Here to Eternity (1953), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), Network (1976), Coming Home (1978) and Reds (1981).
- Universal’s Les Miserables becomes the first musical in a decade to receive a best picture Oscar nomination, since Chicago (2002).
- 20th Century Fox’s Life of Pi becomes only the fifth film released predominately in 3D to receive a best picture Oscar nomination. The others: Avatar (2009), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010) and Hugo (2011).
- 20th Century Fox’s Life of Pi becomes only the fourth film to score Oscar nominations in all seven technical Oscar categories: best cinematography, film editing, best original score, best sound editing, best sound mixing and best visual effects. The others: Titanic (1997), Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2002) and Hugo (2011) — the first two of which also were set at sea!
- Sony’s Zero Dark Thirty, which was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, becomes the 11th best picture Oscar nominee directed or co-directed by a woman. The other 10: Randa Haines‘ Children of a Lesser God (1986), Penny Marshall‘s Awakenings (1990), Barbra Streisand‘s The Prince of Tides (1991), Jane Campion‘s The Piano (1993), Sofia Coppola‘s Lost in Translation (2003), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris‘ Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan‘s Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Lone Scherfig‘s An Education (2009) and Bigelow’s own The Hurt Locker (2009), the only one of the lot that ended up winning.
- Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), who is 85, becomes the oldest best actress Oscar nominee in history, breaking the record held by Jessica Tandy, who was 80 when she was nominated — and won — for Driving Miss Daisy (1989). The only person older than Riva to ever receive an acting Oscar nomination was Gloria Stuart, who was 87 when she became a best supporting actress nominee for Titanic (1997).
- Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), who is 9 years old, becomes the youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history, breaking the record held by Keisha Castle-Hughes, who was 13 when she was nominated for Whale Rider (2003). The only two people younger than Wallis to ever receive an acting Oscar nomination were Jackie Cooper, also 9 — but a few days younger than Wallis is — when he became a best actor nominee for Skippy (1931), and Justin Henry, who was 8 when he became a best supporting actor nominee for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
- Wallis also becomes the 74th actor or actress to receive an acting Oscar nomination for his or her big screen debut, and only the 17th to receive a nomination in the best actress category for a rookie performance. The others: Greer Garson for Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), Martha Scott for Our Town (1940), Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952), Julie Harris for The Member of the Wedding (1952), Maggie McNamara for The Moon Is Blue (1953), Julie Andrews for Mary Poppins (1964), Elizabeth Hartman for A Patch of Blue (1965), Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl (1968), Jane Alexander for The Great White Hope (1970), Diana Ross for Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Julie Walters for Educating Rita (1983), Marlee Matlin for Children of a Lesser God (1986), Emily Watson for Breaking the Waves (1996), Keisha Castle-Hughes for Whale Rider (2003), Catalina Sandino Moreno for Maria Full of Grace (2004) and Gabourey Sidibe for Precious (2009).
- Three perennial nominees who never have won an Oscar will have a shot at breaking their losing streaks this year, all for their work on Skyfall: veteran sound mixer Greg P. Russell received his 16th best sound mixing nom (only one person — his former mixing partner Kevin O’Connell, has received more nominations without winning: 20); composer Thomas Newman is 0-for-10 in years past, but maybe the eleventh will be the charm; and cinematographer Roger Deakins is hoping that he will finally win on his 10th try.
- Alan Arkin (Argo), a best supporting actor nominee, becomes the male actor with the longest span of time between his first and last acting Oscar nomination — his first nomination came 46 years ago for The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966), and he’s obviously still in a position to extend his record! The male record was held by Henry Fonda, who had a 41-year span. The overall record is held by Katharine Hepburn, who had a 48-year span.
- Three Australians — Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Naomi Watts (The Impossible) and Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) — are among this year’s acting Oscar nominees, something that has happened only twice before, in 1998 and 2010.
- For the first time in history, all five nominees from one of the acting categories — in this case, best supporting actor (Arkin, Silver Linings Playbook‘s Robert De Niro, The Master‘s Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lincoln‘s Tommy Lee Jones and Django Unchained‘s Christoph Waltz) — are previous Oscar winners.
- Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg, two of the producers of Lincoln, extend their record number of best picture Oscar nominations — most of which came for films on which they collaborated — from seven to eight. (Spielberg won 19 years ago for Schindler’s List; Kennedy has yet to win.)
- Several of this year’s nominees also were Oscar-nominated last year: best picture nominee George Clooney (Argo) was nominated last year in the best actor category for The Descendants; best actress nominee Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) was nominated in the best supporting actress category for The Help; best original score nominee John Williams (Lincoln) was nominated in the same category for The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse; best production design nominee Rick Carter (Lincoln) was nominated in the same category (then called best art direction) for War Horse; and best sound mixing nominee Greg P. Russell (Skyfall) was nominated in the same category for Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
- Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) becomes the second person to receive a best actor Oscar nomination for portraying Abraham Lincoln — the other was Raymond Massey, who was nominated 72 years ago for Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) — and the fifth person to receive a best actor Oscar nomination for portraying any U.S. president. The others, in addition to those two: James Whitmore in Give ’em Hell, Harry! (1975), Anthony Hopkins in Nixon (1995) and Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon (2008).
- The Gatekeepers, an Israeli Hebrew-language documentary, becomes one of the few films not predominately in the English language to receive a best documentary feature Oscar nomination. The others include The Sorrow and the Pity (1969), Chariots of the Gods (1970), The Last Days (1998) and several early docs about the Olympics.
- Amy Adams (The Master) becomes only the eighth person to have received at least four best supporting actress Oscar nominations. Adams, whose noms all have come within seven years, joins Ethel Barrymore, Lee Grant, Agnes Moorehead, Geraldine Page, Maggie Smith and Maureen Stapleton, who never received another nom in the category after their fourth, and Thelma Ritter, who bagged two more. None of Adams’ noms has resulted in a win yet, but she should be heartened by the fact that all but two of the other members of the 4+ Club — Moorehead and Ritter — wound up winning at least one Oscar.
- It has been a long time since the Academy last nominated Lincoln‘s Sally Field (28 years ago for Places in the Heart), Silver Linings Playbook‘s Robert De Niro (21 years ago for Cape Fear), Helen Hunt (15 years ago for As Good as It Gets), Flight‘s Denzel Washington (11 years ago for Training Day) and The Impossible‘s Naomi Watts (9 years ago for 21 Grams).
- Thursday brought the first Oscar nominations for Wallis, Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Michael Haneke (Amour), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) and Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild).
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