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Oscar nominations: Fascinating facts, figures and milestones

January 22, 2009 |  3:22 pm

With invaluable assistance from our many forum posters, including the aptly named AcademyAwardsGuru, here are some interesting stats about this year's nominations for the Oscars.

Lucky 13: This year’s film with the most Oscar nominations is "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" with 13 nominations. That tally is one short of the record 14 nominations earned by "All about Eve" (1950) and "Titanic" (1997), both of which won best picture. The films that garnered 13 nominations and won the Academy Award for best picture are: "Gone With the Wind" (1939), "From Here to Eternity" (1953), "Forrest Gump" (1994), "Shakespeare in Love" (1998) and "Chicago" (2002). Those that got 13 but didn’t take the top award are: "Mary Poppins" (1964), "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) and "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001).


Take Five: For only the fifth time since 1944, when the number of Oscar nominations in each category was standardized at five, the contenders for best picture and director coincide. This happened in 1957, 1964, 1981, and 2005.

The Producers: With her sixth Oscar nomination for best picture for "Benjamin Button," Kathleen Kennedy has tied the record for nominations for individual producers in the category. Since 1951, when individual producers rather than companies were first cited in the best picture nominations, only two other producers, Stanley Kramer and Steven Spielberg, have received six nominations. Kramer never won the award; Spielberg won in 1993 for "Schindler’s List." Kennedy has yet to win. Only two other women have more than one best picture nomination: Julia Phillips (two nominations, including one win for "The Sting") and Fran Walsh (three nominations, including one win for "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King").

Eight Wasn't Enough: Although "The Dark Knight" earned eight nominations in eight Academy Award categories, the film did not make it into the best picture race. Two years ago, "Dreamgirls" had eight nods in six categories but didn't contend for best picture. It won supporting actress (Jennifer Hudson) and sound mixing. And in 1969, "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" earned nine nods in nine categories without a best picture bid. That film won only for supporting actor Gig Young.

Animated Features: With six nominations, "Wall-E" ties "Beauty and the Beast" as the most-nominated animated film. Three of "Beauty's" bids were for best song, while "Wall-E" got nods in six categories: animated feature, original screenplay, song, score, sound and sound editing. And "Waltz with Bashir" is the first animated movie to be nominated in the foreign film category.

A Record 33 1/3: Kate Winslet will be 33 years, 4 months, and 17 days when she contends for her sixth acting award at the upcoming Oscars. Bette Davis was 34 years, 10 months, and 30 days when she contended for her sixth lead actress award at the 1942 Oscars. Following her wins for "Dangerous" (1935) and "Jezebel" (1938), Davis contended for "Dark Victory" (1939), "The Letter" (1940), "The Little Foxes" (1941) and "Now, Voyager" (1942). Even if you accept that Davis earned an Oscar nomination with that write-in campaign for "Of Human Bondage" in 1934 (the academy lists this with qualification), Davis was still still 33 years, 10 months, and 21 days when she contended at the 1941 Oscars. Davis would go on to earn four more lead actress nods for "Mr. Skeffington" (1944), "All About Eve" (1950), "The Star" (1952) and "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" (1962).

Return Engagement: The only acting nominee from last year to return to the race this year is supporting actor contender Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Doubt"). Nominated in this category last year for "Charlie Wilson's War," Hoffman lost to Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men").

Tricky Dick: Frank Langella ("Frost/Nixon") is the second actor to be nominated for playing former President Richard Nixon. Anthony Hopkins was also nominated as lead actor for his performance in "Nixon" in 1995, but lost to Nicolas Cage for "Leaving Las Vegas."

Sing a Song: This is the first year that only two films — "Slumdog Millionaire" and "Wall-E" — have contended for best song. There were three contenders from three films for the first two years of the award — 1934 and 1935 — and again in 1988 and 2005.

The Universal Language: The two songs from "Slumdog Millionaire" are the sixth and seventh nominations for songs not entirely in the English language. Winner "Never on Sunday" from "Never on Sunday" (1960) was in Greek; "Ave Satani" from "The Omen" (1976) was in Latin; "Belleville Rendez-vouz" from "The Triplets of Belleville" (2003) was in French; winner "Al Otro Lado Del Rio" from "The Motorcycle Diaries" (2004) was in Spanish; and "Vois sur ton Chemin" from "The Chorus" (2004) was in French.

Photo credits: "Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" courtesy of New Line. "Mary Poppins" courtesy of Buena Vista. "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" courtesy of Warner Bros.


Yeah, Meryl Streep just hiked her record number of Oscar nominations, but . . .

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