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Oscar fun facts

Should Tom Hanks win the actor Oscar for “Cast Away,” he would be the first thesp to earn three statuettes in the category. The only other male thesps to win three are Walter Brennan (three supporting actor noms for 1936’s “Come and Get It,” 1938’s “Kentucky” and 1940’s “The Westerner”) and Jack Nicholson (two lead actor awards, 1975’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and 1997’s “As Good as It Gets,” and a supporting actor Oscar for 1983’s “Terms of Endearment”).


Benicio Del Toro, who speaks most of his dialogue in “Traffic” in Spanish, has a shot at being the first supporting actor winner since Robert De Niro (who spoke Italian in 1974’s “The Godfather Part II”) to win the award for a largely foreign-lingo perf. Sophia Loren (Italian in 1961’s “Two Women”), Marlee Matlin (American Sign Language in 1986’s “Children of a Lesser God”) and Roberto Benigni’s Italian-language work in 1998’s “Life Is Beautiful” are the other three Oscar winners for non-English-dialogue perfs.


“Gladiator” is the 13th pic to receive a dozen noms. The last three (1996’s “The English Patient,” 1993’s “Schindler’s List” and 1990’s “Dances With Wolves”) all won the top prize. “Reds” (1981) earned Warren Beatty a director prize, though lost the pic honor to “Chariots of Fire.”

Most interesting is that one of the Ridley Scott pic’s cinematic ancestors, 1959’s “Ben-Hur,” is among the 12-nom club. It went on to win all but one of its categories (adapted screenplay), a record that stood unmatched until 1997’s “Titanic.”


Ellen Burstyn and Jeff Bridges, nominated for “Requiem for a Dream” and “The Contender,” respectively, have twice before been nominated in the same year. In 1971, both received their first noms in the supporting categories for “The Last Picture Show.” In 1974, Bridges was nominated for “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” while Burstyn earned an actress Oscar for “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.”


John Williams’ 39th nom (for scoring “The Patriot”) solidifies his record as the most nominated living individual (Billy Wilder’s 21 bids have him a distant second).

Williams also continues his march toward composer Alfred Newman’s record 45 nominations in the music categories.

Walt Disney owns the overall record for noms with 60 bids.


With Kate Hudson’s supporting actress nom for “Almost Famous,” she and her Oscar-winning mother, Goldie Hawn (in the same category, for 1969’s “Cactus Flower”), join Diane Ladd and Laura Dern, and Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli in Oscar’s annals as thesp mother-daughter nominees. Minnelli won for 1972’s “Cabaret” and Garland received an honorary Oscar, but Hudson and Hawn have a shot at being the first mother-daughter pair to win competitive Oscars.


Ed Harris (“Pollock”) is the 13th actor to direct himself to a nomination. Two thesps earned self-directed actor honors (Laurence Olivier for 1948’s “Hamlet” and Roberto Benigni for 1998’s “Life Is Beautiful”).


James Schamus could be Oscar night’s biggest winner, with a shot at a statuette for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” in three categories (picture, adapted screenplay and song).

Disney holds the record for the most Academy Awards in a single Oscar night. He earned four statuettes at the 1953 ceremonies, sweeping the short and docu categories.


Joaquin Phoenix’s nom for “Gladiator” means he becomes half of the first pair of Oscar-nominated brothers. Joaquin’s older sibling, the late River Phoenix, received a 1988 nom in the same category for “Running on Empty.”


The least enviable record in Oscar annals may soon be tied by two of this year’s nominees. Composer Randy Newman (song nominee for “Meet the Parents”) and sound mixer Kevin O’Connell (“The Patriot”) received their 14th nominations this year and neither has yet taken home an award.

The unluckiest streak record, 15 career noms and no wins, is shared by composer Alex North and art director Roland Anderson.


Steven Soderbergh’s two directing noms, for “Traffic” and “Erin Brockovich,” are the first for a single helmer since 1938, when Michael Curtiz’s “Angels With Dirty Faces” and “Four Daughters” were nominated. Only the latter was a picture nominee as well; Curtiz received a co-director credit for “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” another best pic nominee that year.


Frances McDormand and Hudson’s nominations in supporting actress for “Almost Famous” are the first multiple noms for one film in an acting category in six years. Supporting actress winner Dianne Wiest defeated her “Bullets Over Broadway” co-star Jennifer Tilly in 1994.


“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s” 10 noms have pushed the picture past “Life Is Beautiful’s” previous foreign-language record of seven– and is the first Asian pic to break into the category. “Tiger” also threatens 1983’s “Fanny & Alexander” for the title of most Oscars for a foreign-language film: four.


“The Taste of Others” received the 31st foreign-language bid for France, increasing its lead over runner-up Italy (26).

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