Trivial Matters #7 – Regarding the 2014 Nominees

The nominees for the 87th Academy Awards were just announced, and some things leap out at me right away:

  • Selma very nearly became the first film since The Ox-Bow Incident in 1943 to be nominated for Best Picture and nothing else; it has only one other nomination, in the Best Original Song category. I don’t think it stands much of a chance of winning.
    • Also, lacking a screenwriting nomination is always a bad sign: only seven films have ever won Best Picture without one, and four of those were in the first six years. The other seven nominees are all nominated for either Original or Adapted Screenplay.
  • For the first time in this post-2008 world (wherein we have between five and ten nominees for Best Picture), a film–Foxcatcher–managed to secure a Best Director nomination without one for Best Picture. If it wins, it would only be the second time in Academy history, and first since The Divine Lady (way back at the 2nd Awards), that such a thing occurred.
    • Even during the first “more than five nominees” era from 1931/32-1943, this almost never happened: only Gregory La Cava (My Man Godfrey) at the 9th Awards, and Michael Curtiz (Angels with Dirty Faces) at the 11th.
  • Of the twenty acting nominees, there are only four previous winners (Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Marion Cotillard, and Robert Duvall). Three of the five Best Director nominees are first-timers (Wes Anderson, Morten Tyldum, and Richard Linklater).
  • Three of the Best Actress nominees and one for Best Supporting Actor are for films that have no other nominations (BA: Still AliceTwo Days, One Night; and Gone Girl; BSA: The Judge). Historically, a film receiving just a single nomination, in an acting category, has led to a victory on 30 occasions. For Best Actress, this last occurred in 2003 (Charlize Theron, Monster), and for Supporting Actor, in 2011 (Christopher Plummer, Beginners).
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