The 84th Academy Award nominees were announced yesterday, but you’re still perusing the list. And so are we, if only to wonder once again why — why?! — folks like Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender were snubbed from the list. Ahem. But we’re getting over that, and instead focusing on this year’s race, which boasts quite a few interesting factoids. How many newbies are in the race? When has a silent film last been nominated? Which two actresses are facing off against one another for the third time? Read on to find out!
- Two out of the nine Best Picture nominees this year are comedies: The Artist and Midnight in Paris. But Oscar hasn’t been kind to comedies — the last time a film in the genre has won the trophy was in 1998, with Shakespeare in Love. And before that, in 1989, with Driving Miss Daisy (which, let’s face it, isn’t too much of a comedy as it is). Perhaps Oscar is just overdue on their once-a-decade recognition of the genre?
- Mon dieu! What a good year 2012 is for the French at the Oscars! Two out of the three Best Picture nominees are set in France (Hugo and Midnight in Paris), Best Animated Feature nominee A Cat in Paris is from the City of Lights, and The Artist — a film with a heavily French cast and crew — is nominated for nine awards. Strangely enough, one category that doesn’t boast a French twist? Best Foreign Language Film.
- The Artist is the first (mostly) silent film in 83 years to be nominated for an Oscar. The last time a silent film has won was way back in 1927/1928, when Wings picked up the first Best Picture statue ever awarded.
- However, we’ve seen a black-and-white film like The Artist nominated far more recently — George Clooney’s Good Night, and Good Luck scored a nod back in 2005.
- Since 2008, The Weinstein Company has seen at least one film nominated for Best Picture every year: The Reader in 2008, Inglourious Basterds in 2009, The King’s Speech in 2010, and The Artist in 2011. While still with Miramax, prior to cofounding The Weinstein Company in 2005, Bob and Harvey Weinstein saw films nominated almost every year, starting with 1992: The Crying Game (1992), The Piano (1993), Pulp Fiction (1994), Il Postino (1995), Good Will Hunting (1997), Life Is Beautiful (1998), Cider House Rules (1999), Chocolat (2000), In the Bedroom (2001), Chicago (2002), Gangs of New York (2002), The Hours (2002), Finding Neverland (2004), and The Aviator (2004).
- Three out of the five Best Actor nominees starred in Best Picture-nominated films (George Clooney for The Descendants, Jean Dujardin for The Artist, and Brad Pitt for Moneyball), whereas only one Best Actress nominee starred in a Best Picture-nominated film (Viola Davis for The Help.)
- There are nine first-time nominees in the acting categories. The Best Supporting Actress category is populated with the most newbies (Bérénice Bejo, Jessica Chastain, Melissa McCarthy, and Octavia Spencer), while the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor categories are filled with vets, with only one new nominee each (Rooney Mara and Jonah Hill).
- Including this year’s nod for The Iron Lady, Meryl Streep has been nominated a record 17 times over the course of her career, and has won two statues. The actress, however, hasn’t won in 29 years, bagging her last Oscar in 1983 for Sophie’s Choice. Glenn Close, up for Albert Nobbs this year, has been nominated six times and has picked up zero statues. Will either find luck this year? History says the odds aren’t in their favor: The two actresses have competed against each other in the Best Actress category twice before (in 1988 and 1989) — and both have walked home empty-handed.
- This year’s Best Director race is full of vets: Only one, Michel Hazanavicius, is a first-time nominee. Compare that to 2011, which boasted three first-time nominees in the category (Darren Aronofsky, David O. Russell, and winner Tom Hooper).
- Cars 2 is the first Pixar film to not be nominated for an Oscar since the Best Animated Feature category was introduced in 2001. Quite a hit to the studio’s track record, especially when you consider six out of the eight Pixar films nominated in the past 11 years have won the Oscar.
- Kung Fu Panda 2 is the third sequel to be nominated in the Best Animated Feature category. Shrek 2 scored a nod in 2004, while Toy Story 3 bagged the win last year. Puss in Boots is the first spin-off nominee.
- Three Best Screenplay nominees have appeared in their own films this year: George Clooney in The Ides of March (Best Adapted Screenplay) and Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids (Best Original Screenplay).
- Eat your heart out, Meryl Streep. Including his two nominations this year for The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse, John Williams has been nominated for a whopping 47 Academy Awards over his long career. And though two nominations in one year might seem like a lot, Williams was nominated for three Oscars in 1974 and 1996.