2023 Oscar Firsts: MCU Breaks Into Acting Categories, Composer John Williams is Eldest Nominee Ever

Angela Bassett, Judd Hirsch and Michelle Yeoh are among the Oscar nominees who made history on Tuesday morning

Black Panther Wakanda Forever
"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" (Marvel)

The 95th Oscar nominations were revealed Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. And as usual, the newest lineup featured a number of historic milestones. Among them this year:

◦ Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) is the first performer nominated for a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. “Black Panther” was the first superhero film ever nominated for Best Picture.

◦ Among actresses, Bassett is third on the list of longest gap between first and second Oscar nominations, with a span of 29 years since she was nominated for 1993’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It.”

◦ Among all actors, Judd Hirsch (“The Fabelmans”) has broken Henry Fonda’s record for the longest stretch between nominations. Fonda was nominated for “The Grapes of Wrath” and “On Golden Pond” 41 years apart. Hirsch was cited this year 42 years after his nom for 1980’s “Ordinary People.”

◦ Four Asian/Asian-American actors have been nominated (Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Stephanie Hsu and Hong Chau), the most ever in a single year.

◦ Yeoh is the second Asian actress ever nominated in the Best Actress category, after Indian-born Merle Oberon in 1935.

◦ Astonishingly, this year’s Best Actor lineup (Austin Butler, Colin Farrell, Brendan Fraser, Paul Mescal, Bill Nighy) is all first-time nominees – the first time that has happened since 1934, when there were only three Best Actor nominees.

◦ Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, 62 years after her mother Janet Leigh was nominated in the same category for 1960’s “Psycho.” Curtis and Leigh are the third mother-daughter acting nominees after Judy Garland/Liza Minnelli and Diane Ladd/Laura Dern.

◦ Steven Spielberg has tied Martin Scorsese for the second most nominations for Best Director, with nine each. William Wyler tops the list with 12.

◦ Spielberg has broken his own record for most individual Best Picture nominations as producer (with 12) and has tied William Wyler for directing the most Best Picture nominees (13). 

◦ Tom Cruise was overlooked for Best Actor but still scored his first nomination in 23 years, since his Best Supporting Actor nod for “Magnolia,” as one of the producers of “Top Gun: Maverick.”

◦ Three-time Best Actress winner Frances McDormand was nominated as one of the producers of “Women Talking.”

◦ The Oscars’ most popular genre for acting nominations – the biopic – netted only two nominations, for Ana de Armas in “Blonde” and Austin Butler in “Elvis.” (Michelle Williams and Judd Hirsch in “The Fabelmans” are playing characters inspired by real people, though not in the biopic mold.)

◦ With just three movies to him name, writer-director (and former actor) Todd Field has scored a screenplay nomination for every one of them (“In the Bedroom,” “Little Children” and “Tár”).

◦ With nine nominations, “All Quiet on the Western Front” is the second most nominated foreign-language film ever, after “Roma” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (both with 10). 

◦ Mandy Walker (“Elvis”) is the third woman ever nominated for Best Cinematography, after Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound”) and Ari Wegner (“The Power of the Dog”).

◦ The Daniels (Daniel Kwan with Daniel Scheinert), directors of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” are the first directing pair nominated since the Coen Brothers (for “True Grit”) in 2011.

◦ All of the nominees for Best Director – all men, it should be mentioned – were also nominated in the category of Best Original Screenplay.

◦ Composer John Williams (“The Fabelmans”) has broken his own record for Best Score nominations with 48, and the most nominations for any living person with 53.

◦ At the age of 90, Williams is also the first nonagenarian to be nominated for an Oscar. He was 35 when he received his first nomination in 1968.

◦ For the fifth time in six years, Best Supporting Actor has included two men from the same movie. This year it is Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan for “The Banshees of Inisherin.”