The 89th Academy Awards are almost here, and with it come several opportunities for history to be made. Some chances may be long shots (how awesome it would be if Bradford Young won Best Cinematography), but others are as close to sure things (Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins would both make history as Best Director winners).
Below are six ways this year’s Oscars could make history. The ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, airs Sunday evening at 8:30pm ET on ABC.
1. Damien Chazelle Could Become the Youngest Best Director Winner
“La La Land” is only Damien Chazelle’s third feature behind the camera, and he seems destined to take home the Oscar for Best Director. At only 32 years old, the filmmaker would become the youngest director in history to win the gold. The current record holder is Norman Rae Taurog, who won Best Director for the comedy “Skippy” all the way back in 1931. He was also 32 years old, albeit a few months older than Chazelle. Read IndieWire’s interview with Damien Chazelle here.
2. Barry Jenkins Could Become the First Black Director to Win the Oscar
Chazelle’s biggest competition for Best Director is no doubt “Moonlight” filmmaker Barry Jenkins, who would also make history if he won the prize. The 37-year-old would become the first black director to win the Oscar. He’s currently only the fourth black filmmaker to be nominated, after John Singleton (“Boyz N Da Hood”), Lee Daniels (“Precious”) and Steve McQueen (“12 Years A Slave”). Read IndieWire’s full interview with Barry Jenkins here.
2. Bradford Young Could Become the First African-American Winner for Best Cinematography
Bradford Young is one of Hollywood’s rising cinematography superstars. After earning acclaim behind the camera for the Ava DuVernay films “Middle of Nowhere” and “Selma,” his profile skyrocketed with “Arrival,” for which he is nominated and could become the first African-American winner in the category. Remi Adefarasin, the British DP of “Elizabeth,” is the first black cinematographer nominee. Read IndieWire full interview with Bradford Young here.
3. Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Could Become the First All-Female Team to Win Best Sound Editing
Among the record-tying 14 nominations for “La La Land” is one for sound editors Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan — the first female duo to represent their category. Lee, also nominated for mixing, also breaks through as the first Asian nominee as well. Read IndieWire’s full interview with the sound editing team here.
4. Joi McMillon Could Become the First Black Woman to Win Best Editing
“Moonlight” co-editor Joi McMillon has already broken through the Oscar glass ceiling by becoming the first black woman to earn a nomination in her category, and a win would only put her further into the history books. “Thinking about it stresses me out a bit,” McMillon told IndieWire about the honor. “Whether you want it or not, the responsibility holds.”
5. Denzel Washington Could Tie the Record for Most Oscar Wins for A Male Actor
The Best Actor race is perhaps the night’s closest battle. Casey Affleck has won over 30 prizes, including the Golden Globe, while Denzel Washington claimed the SAG Award, whose victor has gone on to win the Oscar for the past 13 years in a row. Should Washington win Best Actor, it would be his third-career Oscar, which would tie the overall record for a male actor. Daniel Day Lewis, Jack Nicholson and Walter Brennan have all won three acting Oscars. Washington previously won for “Glory” and “Training Day.” Read IndieWire’s full interview with Denzel Washington here.