Oscar 2023 nominations: Firsts, flukes, figures and other fun facts
The announcement of the Academy Award nominations always generates a barrage of fun facts and figures comparing, contrasting, counting and categorizing the latest lucky contenders relative to past Oscar cycles. This year is no exception and The Envelope is happy to present a select trove of trivial truths resulting from the film academy’s most recent slate of picks.
- Angela Bassett, a previous nominee for 1993’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It” and current candidate for her supporting role as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” is the first actor to be tapped by the academy for an appearance in a Marvel Cinematic Universe entry. (Bassett is also only the fourth Black actress to earn multiple Oscar nods. The others: Viola Davis, Whoopi Goldberg and Octavia Spencer.)
- For her dazzling turn as Evelyn Wang in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Malaysian-born Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian-identifying nominee for lead actress. And yes, factoid fans, Merle Oberon did place in the category for 1935’s “Dark Angel,” but due to the restrictive times she hid her South Asian and Maori heritage.
- The Emerald Isle finally vies for the golden statuette with its drama “The Quiet Girl,” Ireland’s first-ever nominee for international film. (Sidebar: A quarter of this year’s acting nominees are Irish.)
- It’s also the first time that all the director contenders are also nominated for writing (or co-writing) their pictures. (All are competing in the original screenplay category.)
- “Blonde’s” Ana de Armas is only the second Cuban-born actor to earn a nomination. The first: Andy Garcia for “The Godfather III.”
- Judd Hirsch’s nod for “The Fabelmans” at age 87 makes him the contest’s second-oldest acting nominee after Christopher Plummer, who was 88 when nominated in 2018 for “All the Money in the World.”
- Producer Dede Gardner (“12 Years a Slave,” “Moonlight”) now ranks as the second most-nominated woman in the best picture category for her work on “Women Talking.” Kathleen Kennedy (“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Lincoln”) remains the leader of this notable group with eight nominations.
- Two sequels are among the challengers for best picture for the first time: “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water.”
- Bonus: They are also the two highest-grossing movies of the year. (The last time that occurred was in 1983 when “Tootsie” faced off against “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.”)
- The exuberant “Naatu Naatu” from Indian powerhouse “RRR” marks the third time in as many years that a non-English language tune is competing for the original song award following “Io sì (Seen)” from 2020’s “The Life Ahead” and “Dos Oruguitas” from 2021’s “Encanto.”
- “Top Gun: Maverick” is the third traditional sequel, after “Toy Story 3” and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” to receive a best picture nomination whose original installment was not a finalist for the same prize.
- For the third time, a nominated actor hails from parents who both also received Oscar nods. This year, it’s Jamie Lee Curtis for “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (parents: Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh). Past recipients include Laura Dern (dad is Bruce Dern, mom is Diane Ladd) and Liza Minnelli (daughter of Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli).
- Daniel Kwan, co-director (with Daniel Scheinert) of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” is only the third Asian American (after “Minari’s” Lee Isaac Chung and M. Night Shyamalan for “The Sixth Sense”) to land a directing nomination.
- Speaking of Daniels, they are the fourth directing pair to be nominated in their category. Their predecessors: Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (1961’s “West Side Story”), Warren Beatty and Buck Henry (1978’s “Heaven Can Wait”), and Joel and Ethan Coen (“No Country for Old Men,” 2010’s “True Grit”).
- Four acting award nominations have been bestowed this year on each of two films (“Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “The Banshees of Inisherin”) for the first time since 1977’s “The Turning Point” and “Julia.”
- A record total of four Asian actors — Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu (all from “Everything Everywhere All at Once”) and Hong Chau (“The Whale”) — have earned nominations this year.
- A total of 16 of the 20 acting contenders this year are first-time nominees.
- Cate Blanchett, earning her eighth nomination for her towering performance in “Tár” (and the only prior Oscar winner to be nominated in an acting category this year) joins the ranks of such other eight-time (or more) nominees as Katharine Hepburn, Judi Dench, Glenn Close, Bette Davis, Geraldine Page and Meryl Streep (the queen with 21 nods). This is also Blanchett’s 10th credited role in a best picture nominee, a record for any actress.
- The average running time for this year’s best picture nominees is 2 hours and 23 minutes. Only two films (“Women Talking” and “The Banshees of Inisherin”) clock in under two hours.
- Steven Spielberg, now Oscar’s most nominated producer with his 12th nod for “The Fabelmans,” has tied William Wyler (“The Best Years of Our Lives,” “Ben-Hur”) as the director of the most films nominated for best picture: 13.
- For his original score for “The Fabelmans,” composer John Williams, 90, is now the oldest-ever Oscar nominee. With this, his 53rd nod, he breaks his own record as the most-nominated living person. (He’s won the gold five times including for “Star Wars” and “Schindler’s List.”)
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