Some factoids to chew on before filling out your Academy Awards ballots.
While you're pondering your Oscar ballot choices, here are some trivia tidbits and fun facts from the 86th Academy Awards:
- Meryl Streep just keeps making history. Already the most-nominated actor, she adds to her Oscar total with No. 18 for August: Osage County.
- John Williams also continues his streak of having the most nominations of any living person. He garnered his 49th nod for best original score for The Book Thief. (The most in history? That honor goes to Walt Disney with 59.)
- There are eight first-timers in the main acting categories, including three from 12 Years a Slave: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o. The others: Matthew McConaughey, Barkhad Abdi, Jared Leto, Sally Hawkins and June Squibb.
- Only seven of the 20 acting nominees are previous Oscar winners (and only one is male): Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts and Streep, who is the lone thespian with more than one Academy Award (three total).
- Six of the nine best-picture nominees are based on true stories: American Hustle takes on ABSCAM in the 1970s; 12 Years a Slave explores Solomon Northup being sold into slavery; Dallas Buyers Club is a 1980s-set biopic of Ron Woodroof; Philomena was inspired by a journalist's account of a woman looking for her long-lost son; The Wolf of Wall Street showcases the real-life 1990s debauchery of stock broker Jordan Belfort; and Captain Phillips focuses on the 2009 hijacking of a boat by Somali pirates.
-- While there are black actors in contention for the major awards, none are African American: Ejiofor is from England, Barkhad Abdi was born in Somalia and raised in Yemen, and Nyong'o is Kenyan.
-- Musicians Pharrell Williams and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O each scored their first Oscar nomination — Williams for the Despicable Me 2 tune Happy and O for The Moon Song from Her. The Oscars are only a little more old-hat for U2, honored for the Golden Globe-winning song Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom— the Irish rockers were nominated in 2002 for The Hands That Built America fromGangs of New York.
-- The title tune from the Christian film Alone Yet Not Alone is up for best song, marking the first nomination for lyricist Dennis Spiegel and the second for composer Bruce Broughton in his 40-year career — he was previously honored in 1986 for the score for the Western film Silverado.