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Oscar Nominations Spawn Fun Facts
LOS ANGELES ( – It could be the fact that the Oscars are earlier than ever, or an after effect of the slimming down of the voting pool, but one thing is certain: this year’s Oscar nominees are very different than in previous years. Sure, the best picture winners are almost all studio films — but just take a look at the acting and screenplay categories and you’ll find plenty of films that many Americans probably haven’t yet had a chance to see — or in some cases, even heard of yet.
That films as small as “Monster,” “Pieces of April” and “City of God” received nominations, along with the fact that — for the first time ever — an American female director received a nomination was enough to have Roger Ebert blurt out to NPR, “It’s almost as if [Oscar voters] actually knew what they’re were doing for a change.”
Here’s a few interesting facts and the nominees this year:
New Line’s “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” earned more nominations than any other film with 11 nods, following closely by Fox’s “Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World.” Interestingly enough, neither film earned any acting nominations.
“Master & Commander” may have beaten “Return of the King” if it had not been ineligible in the best score and best song categories. Director Peter Weir intentionally chose classic musical pieces from the time period to work into the story, thus making the score and the song not “original.”
“Master & Commander’s” 10 nods is the most Oscar nods Fox has received for one film since “Titanic,” which received 13 nominations.
Sofia Coppola is the first American woman to ever be nominated in the best director category — and only the third women overall. The other nominated female directors are Lina Wentmuller (Italy) for 1976’s “Seven Beauties” and Jane Campion (New Zealand) for “The Piano” (1990).
If Sofia Coppola wins in any of the three categories for which she is nominated (best film, best director, best original screenplay), it would make the Coppola family (Carmine, Francis Ford and Sofia) the second three-generation Oscar-winning family. The first were the Hustons (Walter, John and Anjelica).
Diane Keaton has now received one acting nomination in each of four successive decades.
At 13-year-old, Keisha Castle-Hughes is the youngest best actress nominee to date, passing Isabelle Adjani, who was 20 when she got her nod for “The Story of Adele H.” However, younger actors have received nominations in the three other acting categories: Jackie Cooper was nominated for best actor for “Skippy” (1930) at the age of 9; Justin Henry was 8-years-old when he received a best supporting actor nod for “Kramer Vs. Kramer” (1979)and Haley Joel Osment was 11 when he was nominated for “The Sixth Sense”; Tatum O’Neal was 10 when she was named one of the contenders for best supporting actress for “Paper Moon” (1973), while Anna Paquin was 11 when she won best supporting actress for “The Piano.”
Renee Zellweger is the only one of the 20 acting nominations to have been nominated last year. However, five of the acting nominees are previous Oscar-winners.
“City of God” is the first film to benefit from a 1999 rule change that allows pictures entered in the foreign language category in a given year, and not nominated, to compete in other categories the succeeding year if they have their first U.S. release in that year.