American Beauty, this year’s most nominated film, only has eight nominations. Isn’t that kind of puny?
Extremely. Not since 1988’s Rain Man has any film led with only eight noms. The culprit this year: No historical epic, the kind that often draws votes in almost every category, from acting to costumes to effects.
Is 11-year-old Haley Joel Osment the youngest actor ever to get a nomination?
Nope. Justin Henry was 8 when he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer. He lost to 79-year-old Melvyn Douglas for Being There.
Would he be the youngest actor to win?
Nope again. Tatum O’Neal was 10 when she accepted the award for 1973’s Paper Moon (thereby besting 15-year-old rival nominee Linda Blair, who turned heads in The Exorcist).
Meryl Streep and Katharine Hepburn now share the record with 12 acting nominations. How do we break the tie?
Well, Hepburn leads with four wins; Streep has only two. And all of Hepburn’s nominations were as Best Actress (two of Streep’s were for supporting roles). On the other hand, Hepburn took 49 years to amass her nominations, Streep just 22.
I thought I was a foreign-film buff, but except for All About My Mother, I’ve never heard of the nominees. Did I miss something?
We’re with you. The French nominee, an epic called East-West, opens in March, but the Welsh anti-Semitism drama Solomon and Gaenor, the Swedish emotional-triangle drama Under the Sun, and the first-ever Nepalese nominee Caravan, about — no kidding — a yak migration, don’t have distributors yet.
Director Frank Darabont’s first two films, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, both got best picture nominations. Has anyone done that before?
Yes. Among those to pull off that one-two punch are Orson Welles, Mike Nichols, and Warren Beatty.
The nominees look pretty all-American this year.
Look closer. Aussies Russell Crowe and Toni Collette and Brits Samantha Morton, Michael Caine, Jude Law, and Janet McTeer are all nominated for playing Yanks.
Wait a minute, in October, didn’t you run a story saying that the big contenders would be American Beauty, The Sixth Sense, and Three Kings?
Two out of three ain’t bad.