Hollywood has had an eventful 12 months – while Tom Cruise’s accountants probably enjoyed the best year of their lives, there was less good news for Batgirl and Chris Rock’s lower jaw.
A killer robot called M3GAN, Channing Tatum’s disobedient dog, Colin Farrell’s donkey and a bear addicted to cocaine were among the most colourful characters to emerge on the big screen as audiences returned to cinemas.
Meanwhile, the sheer unpredictability of awards season has made this year’s Oscars race one of the most exciting and enjoyable in recent memory – with the winners varying wildly between other ceremonies in the build-up.
Here are 16 quirky coincidences and possible record breakers among this year’s nominees.
1. All Quiet on the Western Front has already won best picture.
Admittedly, that was almost a century ago, when the 1930 adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel won the top Oscar.
Netflix’s latest version is, strictly speaking, a new adaptation of the book rather than a remake of the earlier film.
The only other film adaptations to have been nominated for best picture twice are Mutiny on the Bounty (1935 and 1962) and West Side Story (1961 and 2021).
2. A mole who loves cake may be the best-known Oscar nominee in the UK.
Which of this year’s Oscar-nominated films have been the most widely seen? You’d think perhaps the Top Gun or Avatar sequels, which dominated at the box office.
But they have competition from one film in the best animated short category.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, adapted from Charlie Mackesy’s best-selling book, was watched by a whopping 8.7 million viewers on BBC One over Christmas.
3. The average best picture-nominated film this year is 144 minutes long.
They range from the relatively short Women Talking (1hr 44m) to the bladder-challenging Avatar: The Way of Water (3hrs 12m).
4. One directing duo have joined an exclusive club.
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert are nominated for jointly directing Everything Everywhere All At Once, marking only the fifth time the best director category has featured a duo.
The previously nominated pairs are Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins for West Side Story, Warren Beatty and Buck Henry for Heaven Can Wait, and Joel and Ethan Coen (aka the Coen Brothers) for No Country for Old Men and True Grit.
5. Judd Hirsch has broken the record for the longest gap between acting nominations.
The Fabelmans star was nominated for best supporting actor in January, precisely 41 years and 341 days after his nod for 1980’s Ordinary People.
It is a year of big gaps in general – it took Todd Field 16 years to make Tár, while there was a 13-year gap between the two Avatar films, and 36 years between the two Top Gun movies.
6. Both frontrunners for best actress play characters who were originally imagined as male.
Michelle Yeoh’s leading role in the madcap multiverse adventure Everything Everywhere All At Once was originally offered to Jackie Chan.
“They wrote it that way with Jackie and me as the wife, so the roles were completely reversed,” the actress recalled.
Cate Blanchett’s disgraced orchestra conductor Lydia Tár, meanwhile, was also originally conceived as male – something the actress felt would have made for a less interesting character study.
“Because the film is a meditation on power, you would’ve had a much less nuanced examination of that [if the character had been male],” Blanchett said.
“We understand what the corruption of male power looks like, but we need to unpack what power is itself.”
7. Darren Aronofsky, who directed The Whale, may be a secret fan of British folk music.
The release of his latest movie means he has now directed films called both Noah and The Whale.
We hope those two choices are intended as a tribute to the Twickenham-based band of the same name (and that Aronofsky embarks on a Mumford and Sons biopic next).
8. Women Talking stars two actresses with Dragon Tattoos.
Before appearing together in Sarah Polley’s best picture nominee, Rooney Mara and Claire Foy both played the same leading role in two different iterations of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
The 2011 English-language adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling novel saw Mara play the titular role opposite Daniel Craig.
Seven years later, Foy took on the same role in the The Girl in the Spider’s Web – the fourth novel in the series, which was written by David Lagercrantz after Larsson’s death.
9. Angela Bassett is the first person to be nominated for acting in a Marvel movie.
She played Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, netting her a best supporting actress nomination.
But with Kerry Condon winning the category at Bafta, and Jamie Lee Curtis scooping that award at the Screen Actors Guild, Marvel’s first ever win for acting is far from certain.
10. Six different donkeys starred as the lovable titular animal in EO.
Their names are Rocco, Marietta, Tako, Hola, Mela, and Ettore – all of whom were cruelly snubbed in the best actor category.
The beautifully-shot film is Poland’s nominee for best international feature – although, with very little dialogue, there is minimal subtitle-reading required.
11. No film has won three acting prizes since 1976’s Network.
But that could be equalled this year if Everything Everywhere All At Once manages to repeat the three acting victories it enjoyed at the SAG Awards – for Yeoh, Curtis and Ke Huy Quan.
In fact, there are two chances for it to win best supporting actress at the Oscars, with Stephanie Hsu nominated alongside Curtis.
12. Two movies have four nominations each in the acting categories this year.
Between them, Everything Everywhere All At Once and The Banshees of Inisherin account for a whopping eight of the 20 available acting slots.
This has not happened in 45 years at the Oscars. The last time two movies both got four acting nominations was in 1978, when Julia and The Turning Point dominated the categories.