It is that time of year again! Today the Academy announced the nominees for the 89th Academy Awards, with nine films in the running for Best Picture of 2016. As I mentioned in my New Year’s post, I have seen so few films from the past year I was certain none of them would be nominated for the big prize…and, indeed, none was. So, I enter Oscars season totally bereft of predictions for Best Picture and, since Inárritu didn’t direct anything this year, I have nothing for Best Director, either.
So even though he’s not nominated and is dead, I’m predicting William Wyler.
But anyway, as is the custom here at Oscars and I, here is some trivia that leapt out at me regarding this year’s slate:
- La La Land is the third film to be nominated for 14 Oscars (following All About Eve  and Titanic ). It would have to win 11 Oscars to tie the record set by Ben-Hur (1959, out of 12 nominations) and later tied by Titanic and by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003, out of 11 nominations).
- It’s the first film since American Hustle in 2013 to be nominated for the “Big Five” awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay (Original). If it wins all five, as it did at the Golden Globes, it would join It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991) as the only films to do so.
- If it does not win Best Picture, it will hold the record for most nominations without winning the top prize–currently at 13, set by Mary Poppins in 1964 and later tied by Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), and, of all damn films, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).
- No film not nominated for Best Picture received more than one acting nomination.
- Of the Best Picture nominees, only Hacksaw Ridge was not nominated for its screenplay. As recent years have shown, this puts it at a significant disadvantage.
- Arrival has no acting nominations. The last film to win Best Picture without any acting nominations was Slumdog Millionaire in 2008 (the eleventh film to do so).
- Except for Mel Gibson, all of the nominees for Best Director are first-time nominees in that category (two, Damien Chazelle and Kenneth Lonergan, have been nominated previously for writing).
- La La Land has six more nominations than the next-most nominated films (Arrival and Moonlight, with eight apiece). This ties the record for largest gap between the first- and second-most nominated films, set by Forrest Gump in 1994, with 13 nominations to 7 each for Bullets Over Broadway, The Shawshank Redemption, and Pulp Fiction.
- Meryl Streep, with her 20th acting nomination, could tie Katharine Hepburn for most acting wins (though all four of Hepburn’s were in the Lead Actress category, while Streep’s first win was Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer). Nicole Kidman and Jeff Bridges could join the roster of performers to win in both Lead and Supporting categories.
- If Fences wins Best Picture, Denzel Washington, a two-time Best Actor winner, would become the sixth person in Academy history to win for acting and something else…following Laurence Olivier (producing), Barbra Streisand (original song), Michael Douglas (producing), Emma Thompson (writing), and George Clooney (producing).
- And if he wins Best Actor, he would not only join Daniel Day-Lewis as the only male actor to win it three times, but would also be the fourth person, after Mary Pickford (Coquette ), Laurence Olivier (Hamlet ), and Charlize Theron (Monster ), to win an acting award for a film that he also produced.
That’s all that comes to mind now…I’ll post more as I think of them!