This morning, nominations were announced for the 85th Academy Awards, and though there were some HUGE shocks (No Ben Affleck! No Kathryn Bigelow! Benh Zeitlin in Best Director for “Beasts of the Southern Wild”!), there was just as much history made when the nods were unveiled. I did a little searching online, and a LOT more of my own math (and given that my degrees are in Liberal Arts, I have no business putting figures together).
Here are the nominations by the numbers:
-As stated earlier today, Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”) is, at 85, the oldest Best Actress nominee in history. Nine year-old Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) is now the youngest.
-Silver Linings Playbook is only the 14th film in history to score a nomination in every acting category. The film joins rare, respected company: Reds (1981), Coming Home (1978), Network (1976), Bonnie & Clyde (1967), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), From Here to Eternity (1953), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Johnny Belinda (1948), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Mrs. Miniver (1942), My Man Godfrey (1936). Only two of those nominees won Best Picture: Mrs. Miniver and From Here to Eternity.
-Les Miserables is the first musical since the change from five Best Picture nominees to 5-10 to be nominated, and the last musical since eventual winner Chicago (2002), unless you count Ray (2004), which I don’t think anybody really does.
-Seth MacFarlane, who is nominated as co-writer of Best Original Song nominee “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted, is the sixth Oscar host in history to be nominated the same year he’s hosting. James Franco is the most recent example, having been nominated for Best Actor for 127 Hours, the same year he took the stage to host alongside current Best Supporting Actress frontrunner Anne Hathaway.
From there, you have to go back to Paul Hogan (nominated for the screenplay to Crocodile Dundee. Yeah, it was one of those years), who hosted alongside Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn. Lastly, Walter Matthau, Michael Caine, and David Niven co-hosted the show as Best Actor nominees in 1976, 1973, and 1959, respectively. However, only Niven ended up taking home the gold, marking him as Oscars’ sole host/nominee to actually win. Unless you count Bob Hope, the 14-time Oscar host who received five Honorary Oscars in his career, four of which were awarded to him while serving as host (in 1945, 1953, 1960, and 1966, respectively). Bob Hope never won a competitive Oscar, however. Hence, Niven remains the champ. Credit: Entertainment Weekly
-Amour is the first foreign-language film to be nominated since the change from five Best Picture nominees to between 5-10. It is also the first film not in the English language to be nominated for Best Picture since Clint Eastwood’s 2006 drama, Letters From Iwo Jima. Lastly, it is the last foreign production to make the Best Picture cut since 2000′s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Amour is also the 10th foreign-language film to be nominated for Best Picture in the Oscars’ 85-year history, depending on whether or not you count 2006 nominee Babel (a sizable portion of which is in English). It’s also the second to star Jean-Louis Trintignant, after Z in 1969.
Other foreign-language Best Picture nominees: Grand Illusion (1937), Z (1969), The Emigrants (1972), Cries and Whispers (1973), Il Postino (1995), Life Is Beautiful (1998), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Letters From Iwo Jima (2006) and Babel (2006).
-Amour is only the fourth film in Oscar history to score nominations in both the Best Picture and Best Foreign-Language Film categories, after Z (1969), Life is Beautiful (1998), and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
-Benh Zeitlin, director of Beasts of the Southern Wild, is the eighth youngest director ever nominated (at 30 years old), and is only the 22nd director nominated for their feature film debut.
Of the other 21, only six went on to win for their feature film debut [winners bolded]: Tony Gilroy for Michael Clayton (2007), Rob Marshall for Chicago (2002), Stephen Daldry for Billy Elliot (2000), Spike Jonze for Being John Malkovich (1999), Sam Mendes for American Beauty (1999), Peter Cattaneo for The Full Monty (1997), Chris Noonan for Babe (1995), John Singleton for Boyz n the Hood (1991), Kevin Costner for Dances with Wolves (1990), Kenneth Branagh for Henry V (1989), Roland Joffe for The Killing Fields (1984), James L. Brooks for Terms of Endearment (1983), Robert Redford for Ordinary People (1980), Warren Beatty & Buck Henry for Heaven Can Wait (1978), Mike Nichols for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), Frank Perry for David and Lisa (1962), Jerome Robbins (and Robert Wise) for West Side Story (1961), Jack Clayton for Room at the Top (1959), Sidney Lumet for 12 Angry Men (1957), Delbert Mann for Marty (1955), Orson Welles for Citizen Kane (1941).
-Speaking of the directing nominees, each of our nominated directors have directed one of their actors to a nomination this year.
-On that subject, in all of Steven Spielberg’s illustrious career, the two-time directing winner has never directed an actor to an Oscar win before. Daniel Day-Lewis could break that streak if he wins Best Actor for Lincoln. This is to say nothing of just how strong a contender Tommy Lee Jones is for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar as well. Spielberg’s curse (and I couldn’t possibly use that term more loosely) with actors could be broken twice over!
-Every nominee in the Best Supporting Actor category is a former winner, with all but Phillip Seymour Hoffman having their Oscar come from that category. De Niro has two Oscars, one for supporting (for The Godfather Part II) and one for lead actor (for Raging Bull).
-Only four out of the 20 acting nominees are first-time nominees, the fewest in recent memory (and possibly the fewest in history. I’d check, but not even an Oscar nut like me has that kind of time).
-Best Foreign-Language Film nominee NO is the first nomination for Chile.
-As of right now (and this all could change with a wider release to capitalize on its nomination), Amour is the lowest-grossing Best Picture nominee in history, having grossed only $350,000 in domestic release. (Credit: The Film Experience)