Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Oscars 2023 trivia: the firsts, facts, and potential records worth knowing ahead of this year's show

This year's Academy Awards include the oldest-ever nominee and the first actor from a Marvel film—can you name them?

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
AVClub Oscars 2023 facts trivia
(L-R:) Oscar nominees Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once (Allyson Riggs), Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Courtesy of Marvel Studios), Steven Spielberg filming The Fabelmans (Merie Weismiller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment)
Graphic: The A.V. Club

Every Academy Awards brings its share of historic firsts, with some years breaking more ground than others. The 95th edition of the Oscars, which will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on March 12, holds a significant number of possibilities. Records could be broken (or, in the case of some accomplished filmmakers, extended) and wrongs could be righted (potentially putting a dent in #OscarsSoWhite). Ahead of Hollywood’s big night, here’s a look at some of the factoids, firsts, and other need-to-know nuggets of trivia to help you impress your friends during your Oscars viewing party.

Jimmy Kimmel’s Oscars Trailer - Exclusive World Premiere

Everything Everywhere may set records everywhere

  • Everything Everywhere All At Once, which swept top honors at this year’s Directors Guild Awards, Producers Guild Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards, is a solid bet for Best Picture and much more at this year’s Oscars. It’s also the film breaking the most ground, historically speaking.
  • Icon Michelle Yeoh, a first-time contender after decades in the industry, is the first Asian nominee ever in the Best Actress category (Merle Oberon, a nominee in 1935 for The Dark Angel, did not publicly identify with her Maori heritage).
  • Yeoh also has an opportunity to double the number of actresses of color who have won best actor. Only Halle Berry has taken home gold this race in the previous 94 years. (We can just hear the Academy patting itself on the back already: “Best Actress! Now with 200% more women of color!”)
  • With Yeoh and co-stars Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu, as well as The Whale star Hong Chau, this is the first time that actors of Asian descent have earned so many nominations in a single year. This is also the first time that the supporting actress race has included more than one Asian star. If either Hsu or Chau wins, they’d be the category’s third Asian winner.

More international stars make their mark

  • A quarter of all the acting nominees this year hail from Ireland, with nominations for a quartet of stars from The Banshees Of Inisherin (Colin Farrell, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan, and Brendan Gleeson) as well as Paul Mescal of Aftersun.
  • In fact, this is the first time that non-Americans have dominated the acting races to this extent, with 11 of the 20 contenders coming from outside the U.S.

First-timers dominate the acting races

  • For the first time since the 7th Academy Awards in 1935, the Best Actor race is made up entirely of first-time nominees: Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Austin Butler (Elvis), Colin Farrell (The Banshees Of Inisherin), Bill Nighy (Living), and Paul Mescal (Aftersun).
  • Across the acting categories, only four performers have previously been nominated for an Oscar: Judd Hirsch, Angela Bassett, Michelle Williams, and Cate Blanchett.
  • By the way, Blanchett is the only Oscar winner among this year’s crop of nominees (she earned honors for her work in The Aviator and Blue Jasmine).
  • Hirsch now has the record for the longest period between Oscar nominations at 42 years. He was previously honored for 1980's Ordinary People. 
  • This is the first time since 1977 that two films have earned four acting nominations (Everything Everywhere and Banshees).
Oscar statuettes
Photo: Matt Petit - Handout/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images (Getty Images)

Angela Bassett makes MCU, and Oscars, history 

Screen legend Angela Bassett, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is the first performer from the MCU to crack any of the Oscars’ actor categories. While superhero films and comic book adaptations have earned nominations and wins, mostly outside of the acting categories, only two other actors from that genre have claimed Oscars, and both for playing the same character—Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker.


John Williams adds to his impressive totals

  • At age 90, legendary composer John Williams now holds the distinction of being the oldest ever Academy Award nominee, thanks to his nod for the score of The Fabelmans.
  • That also extends Williams’ record as the most-nominated living person, with 53 nods. He still has a ways to go to surpass the all-time leader in nominations, Walt Disney, who accumulated 59 nominations (and 22 wins).

Steven Spielberg ties one mark, owns another

  • Steven Spielberg is now tied for directing the most Best Picture nominees, with 13 films in all. With his nomination for The Fabelmans, Spielberg pulls even with William Wyler, of Mrs. Miniver and Ben-Hur. Considering The Fabelmans demonstrated Spielberg’s continuing mastery behind the camera, it’s probably just a matter of time before the record is all his—perhaps his upcoming Bradley Cooper-starring project about Frank Bullitt will do the trick.
  • In addition, Spielberg also holds the record as the first and only director to be nominated for Academy Awards in six different decades.

Cate the Great extends her run

With Tár, Cate Blanchett is appearing in her 10th Best Picture nominee. That extends the record she set last year, after her films Nightmare Alley and Don’t Look Up were both nominated. Blanchett surpassed Olivia de Havilland and Leonardo DiCaprio, among others, for this distinction.

An Irish entrance

This is the first time that a film from Ireland has cracked the International Feature category, with a nomination for Colm Bairéad’s The Quiet Girl. It’s also the first Irish-language film to appear on Oscar’s list.


Writer-directors have a moment

This is the first time that every best director nominee is also nominated for a best screenplay honor. Directors Martin McDonaugh, Todd Field, Steven Spielberg, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, and Ruben Ostlund are each nominated in the original screenplay race.

Sequels get a chance to shine

This marks the first year that two sequels—Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way Of Water—have been nominated in the Best Picture race.