Pacing Kate: Meryl Streep’s “Music of the Heart” nomination moves the thesp into a tie with Katharine Hepburn for the most bids earned by an actor or actress (12). However, Streep accumulated her dozen noms (10 for actress, two for supporting) over 22 years, while Hepburn’s (all for best actress) were spread over a span of 49.
Sudden seniority: “The Straight Story’s” Richard Farnsworth, at 79, is the oldest actor nominee in Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences history. The previous record holder, “On Golden Pond” (1981) winner Henry Fonda, was 76 at the time of his nomination.
Slow and steady: Farnsworth and John Reitz, a sound nominee for “The Matrix,” both received their second career nominations after a 21-year wait. Thesp was a supporting actor nominee for 1978’s “Comes a Horseman” and Reitz on the sound short list for “Days of Heaven.”
Child’s play: “The Sixth Sense” supporting actor nominee Haley Joel Osment, 11, is the third-youngest thesp in the category’s history. The youngest remains Justin Henry, 8 at the time of this nomination for 1979’s “Kramer vs. Kramer.” (Henry is also the youngest Oscar nominee in any category). “Shane’s” Brandon de Wilde was a day younger than Osment when he received a bid in 1954. However, should Osment win, he would be category’s youngest winner (the present record is held by Timothy Hutton, 20 when he won for 1980’s “Ordinary People”).
Also, Osment had a vicarious brush with Oscar five years ago, when he played the son of the titular character in best picture winner “Forrest Gump.”
Turnabout: This year, six non-U.S. thesps have been nominated (Aussies Russell Crowe and Toni Collette, and Britons Samantha Morton, Michael Caine, Jude Law and Janet McTeer), all for playing American characters. However, Yank actress Julianne Moore affects a Brit accent for her nominated turn in “The End of the Affair.”
Trailblazer: If Denzel Washington were to win for “The Hurricane,” he would become only the second black actor winner (the first being Sidney Poitier for 1963’s “Lilies of the Field”), and the first African-American thesp to win a second trophy (Washington’s first win was in the supporting category for 1989’s “Glory.”)
Double dippin’: If either Washington or Kevin Spacey (both past supporting winners) takes the actor trophy, thesp would become the fifth actor to win both lead and supporting Oscars, following Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Jack Lemmon and Jack Nicholson. (Five actresses also have accomplished this feat: Ingrid Bergman, Helen Hayes, Jessica Lange, Maggie Smith and Meryl Streep).
The family way: Angelina Jolie, a nominee for “Girl, Interrupted,” joins her dad, past Oscar winner Jon Voight (“Coming Home”), as the seventh father-daughter Oscar nominated thesp duo. The others: John and Anjelica Huston, Bruce and Laura Dern, Henry and Jane Fonda, and Ryan and Tatum O’Neal.
Woody watch: “Sweet and Lowdown” nominees Sean Penn and Samantha Morton lift to 15 the number of thesp nominations for Woody Allen films (still a sight short of the overall record held by William Wyler, who directed 35 nominated performances). However, this marks the first time that an Allen film has received recognition in the acting categories without a corresponding screenplay nom.
Tote board: “American Beauty’s” eight nominations, the year’s highest tally, reps the fewest bids for the top vote-getter since 1989 best picture winner “Rain Man,” which also landed eight noms. Should “Beauty” lose the top honor, it would be the first time the leading film failed to take the picture trophy since 1991, when “Silence of the Lambs” (seven bids) defeated “Bugsy” (11 noms).
Manning Oscar: Michael Mann (“The Insider”) has a shot at being the fifth director to win producing, directing and writing Oscars for a single film.
Those who have copped the hat trick: Leo McCarey (1944’s “Going My Way”), Billy Wilder (1960’s “The Apartment”), Francis Ford Coppola (1974’s “The Godfather Part II”) and James L. Brooks (1983’s “Terms of Endearment”).
One-sided: “The Green Mile’s” Frank Darabont has now notched his second Directors Guild nomination without a corresponding bid from the Acad (his 1994 snub for “The Shawshank Redemption” repped the first). However, both times Darabont’s film received a pic nomination and he a screenplay nom.
Polyglot: Swedish helmer Lasse Hallstrom is the first filmmaker to have received Oscar nominations for directing both a foreign-language feature (1987’s “My Life as a Dog”) and an English-lingo pic (1999’s “The Cider House Rules”).
The streaker: John Williams, an original score nominee this year for “Angela’s Ashes,” notches a record 38th Oscar bid, the most among living individuals. He is still seven short of tying fellow composer Alfred Newman (45 noms) and 22 behind the Acad’s all-time nom champ, Walt Disney (60).
Magic kingdom: Disney-Buena Vista, the sole longtime major distribbery without a best picture statuette in its trophy case, has for the first time two contenders in the category (“The Insider” and “The Sixth Sense.”) Mouse House-owned Miramax continues its streak of best pic noms with “The Cider House Rules,” snaring its 10th over the past 11 years (and extends to eight the number of consecutive years the major-mini has placed a film among the top five).
Newbies: Three categories (supporting actress, film editing and live-action short film) comprise only first-time nominees.
Long Hall: Cinematographer Conrad L. Hall, receiving his ninth nom for “American Beauty,” collected his first and only Oscar 30 years ago for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Should Hall win this year, his would be the longest gap between awards among this year’s nominees.
Passports, please: France earns a record 30th nomination in the foreign-language category with Regis Wargnier’s “East-West,” while Nepal notches its first with “Caravan.”
Breaking away: Cinematographer Robert Richardson’s bid for Scott Hicks’ “Snow Falling on Cedars” is his first nom for a film not directed by Oliver Stone; Richardson’s prior bids were for “Platoon,” “Born on the Fourth of July” and “JFK.”
Made guy: Rick Baker continues to defend his record for the most makeup noms in Acad history, adding an eighth for “Life.” (Baker has also won the most Oscars in the category, five in all). Also, for the first time, the makeup committee decided to bend its own rules and exceed its three-nominee ceiling, selecting four pictures.
No mean feat: Visual effects virtuoso Dennis Muren received his 11th f/x nom for the “Star Wars” prequel “The Phantom Menace.” He has received eight Academy Awards in the category to date, tying him with composer Alan Menken for the most Oscars won by a living individual.
Sounds good: Threatening to pull even with Muren and Menken in the win column is sound nominee Gary Rydstrom (“Star Wars: Episode One — The Phantom Menace”), who has taken home seven trophies (four for sound, three for sound-effects editing).
Notably lacking: With a song nom for “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2,” Randy Newman has earned his 13th Oscar bid but has yet to log a single win. Should he lose March 26, the composer would be two noms shy of the Acad record of most nominations without a win (15, shared by composer Alex North and art director Roland Anderson).
Cuttin’ race: Richard Hymns, with his sixth sound-effects editing nom for “Fight Club,” now pulls ahead to be the most nominated individual in the category’s history.