Mary J. Blige, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song
Dee Rees, Best Adapted Screenplay
Jordan Peele, Best Director
Greta Gerwig, Best Director
Timothée Chalamet, Best Actor
“Lady Bird,” Best Picture
Guillermo Del Toro, Best Director
Octavia Spencer, Best Supporting Actress
“Logan,” Best Adapted Screenplay
“Dunkirk,” Best Picture
“Three Billboards,” Best Picture
“Get Out,” Best Picture
“Strong Island,” Best Documentary
Kumail Nanjiani, Best Original Screenplay
Christopher Plummer, Best Supporting Actor
The Academy Awards are enterting its 90th year in 2018, which makes it all the more shocking just how much history can still be made on film’s biggest night. This year, there are at least 16 nominations that stand to break new ground at the Oscars should they prove victorious. Let’s break them all down.
Rachel Morrison is the first woman ever nominated for Best Cinematography in the Academy’s 90-year history, which means a victory would also be historic for the Oscars. The DP faces considerable competition from the likes of Roger Deakins, who won the American Society of Cinematographers prize.
Mary J. Blige has a shot at making history by becoming the only person to win Oscars for acting and songwriting in the same year. Her acting in “Mudbound” is competing in the Best Supporting Actress race, while she earned a Best Original Song nomination for co-writing “A Mighty River” off the Netflix film’s soundtrack.
Dee Rees may have been left out of this year’s Best Director race, but the “Mudbound” filmmaker still managed to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Rees’ script, penned with Virgil Williams, is based on Hillary Jordan’s 2008 debut novel of the same name. Should Rees win the prize, she’ll become the first black woman to do so. She has already made history as the first black woman nominee in this category. Rees’ co-writer Virgil Williams would also make history for the same reason.
Peele is only the fifth black filmmaker to be nominated for Best Director, following John Singleton (“Boyz n the Hood”), Lee Daniels (“Precious”), Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”), and Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”). No black director has ever won the Oscar, which makes Peele’s potential victory a groundbreaker.
Similar to Peele, Gerwig is the fifth female filmmaker nominated for Best Director following Lina Wertmüller (“Seven Beauties”), Jane Campion (“The Piano”), Sofia Coppla (“Lost in Translation”), and Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”). Bigleow is still the only female winner of the category, which gives Gerwig the chance to make history as the second woman to win Best Director.
At 22 years old, Chalamet is the third-youngest Best Actor nominee in history, behind only Jackie Cooper (9, “Skippy”) and Mickey Rooney (19, “Babes in Arms”). The actor will become the youngest winner ever if he takes home the trophy for “Call Me By Your Name.” Adrien Brody is currently the category’s youngest winner, having won for “The Pianist” when he was 29 years old.
Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” remains the only film directed by a woman to win the Academy’s biggest prize in 90 years. “Lady Bird” has the chance to bring that tally to two, but it faces competition from “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuaron, and Alejandro González Iñárritu make up The Three Amigos, and right now del Toro is the only one missing an Oscar. “The Shape of Water” filmmaker is the frontrunner to win the prize this year, which would make him the third Mexican director to win in five years (Iñárritu for “Birdman” and “The Revenant,” Cuaron for “Gravity”). No feat like this has ever been achieved at the Academy Awards.
Octavia Spencer earned her third Oscar nomination for her supporting turn in “The Shape of Water,” and if she wins she’ll be the first black woman to earn two Academy Awards. Spencer previously won the same category for “The Help” in 2011. She was nominated for “Hidden Figures” last year.
“Wonder Woman” was widely considered to be the major superhero film with Oscar chances outside the crafts categories, so consider “Logan”s nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay a huge surprise. Screenwriters Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green could become the category’s first winners for writing a superhero film.
With eight nominations, “Dunkirk” is second to only “The Shape of Water” this year as the most nominated film at the 90th Academy Awards. Christopher Nolan’s epic is nominated for Best Picture, and if it wins it would be the first movie since 1932 (“Grand Hotel”) to earn the top prize without any screenplay or acting nominations.
“Three Billboards” was widely considered to be a Best Picture frontrunner following its major wins at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, but the fact that Martin McDonagh failed to earn a Best Director nomination is a big deal. Only four films have ever won Best Picture without a Best Director nomination: “Wings,” “Grand Hotel,” “Driving Miss Daisy,” and “Argo.”
“Get Out” is one of the leading contenders for Best Picture, with many prognosticators thinking Jordan Peele’s social thriller could win over “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards.” However, “Get Out” faces an uphill battle historically. The movie has four total nominations, and a Best Picture nominee with four nominations or less has not won the grand prize since 1933 (“Cavalcade”). “The Post” winning would also make history in this regard as it only has two nominations.
“Strong Island” director Yance Ford has already made history as the first openly transgender director to receive an Oscar nomination, which means he could very well make history as the Oscar’s first transgender winner. Ford is nominated alongside co-producer Joslyn Barnes in the Best Documentary race.
Kumail Nanjiani and his wife and co-writer Emily V. Gordon are nominated for writing “The Big Sick.” Nanjiani, who also starred in the film, is American-Pakistani and would become the first person of Asian descent to take home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
Christopher Plummer could break his own record for being the oldest acting winner in Oscar history. The actor won Best Supporting Actor for “Beginners” when he was 82 years old, and now he could set the bar even higher by winning the same category for “All the Money in the World” at age 88.