This year’s Academy Awards present the chance for a large number of landmark wins, from the first Sundance movie to win Best Picture to the youngest songwriting winner ever to the longest gap between wins by a composer.
We’ll start our list with “CODA,” which could provide plenty of landmarks all by itself.
If “CODA” wins Best Picture, it would become the first film to do so after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.
It would also be the first winner whose main cast is predominantly deaf.
It would become the second film to win Best Picture without a Directors Guild nomination for its director, after “Driving Miss Daisy.”
It would also become the first to ever win without Oscar nominations for either directing or film editing.
And it would become the first movie with fewer than four total nominations to win Best Picture since “Grand Hotel” won with only a single nomination in 1932.
If either Apple’s “CODA” or Netflix’s “The Power of the Dog” wins Best Picture, it will become the first film released by a streaming company to take that award.
If Jane Campion wins the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for “The Power of the Dog,” she’ll become the first woman to win in both of the Oscar writing categories. She won Best Original Screenplay in 1994 for “The Piano.”
If Campion wins Best Director, she’ll be the third woman to do so, after Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) in 2010 and Chloe Zhao (“Nomadland”) last year.
If she wins Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, she’ll be the first person to win those two awards since James L. Brooks did it for “Terms of Endearment” in 1984.
If “The Power of the Dog” wins Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, Campion will become the first woman to win those three awards in one year.
If “The Power of the Dog” wins for Best Cinematography, Ari Wegner will become the first woman to win in that category. She is only the second to be nominated, after Rachel Morrison for “Mudbound” in 2018.
If “CODA,” “The Power of the Dog” or “Don’t Look Up” win Best Picture, it will be the lowest-grossing winner in history. (“CODA” has a reported gross of $1.1 million, while the other two are Netflix films with no reported box-office gross. Last year’s winner, “Nomadland,” grossed $3.7 million in the U.S.)
If Kristen Stewart wins Best Actress for “Spencer,” she’ll become the first lead performer to win the Oscar after not being nominated by SAG and BAFTA. The only performers who have done this are Marcia Gay Harden for “Pollock” and Regina King for “If Beale Street Could Talk,” both in the Best Supporting Actress category.
If Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst win Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards for “The Power of the Dog,” or if Javier Bardem wins Best Actor for “Being the Ricardos” and Penelope Cruz wins Best Actress for “Parallel Mothers,” they will become the first romantic couple to win acting awards in the same year.
If Troy Kotsur wins Best Supporting Actor for “CODA,” he’ll become the first deaf actor to win an Oscar, and the second deaf performer after his co-star Marlee Matlin, who won Best Actress for “Children of a Lesser God” in 1987.
If Ariana DeBose wins Best Supporting Actress for “West Side Story,” she’ll become the first openly queer woman of color to win an Oscar in an acting category. She’ll also become the second Latina acting winner – after Rita Moreno, who won for playing the same role, Anita, in the 1961 version of “West Side Story.”
If DeBose wins, Anita will become the third character to lead to two Oscar wins, after Don Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” (Marlon Brando) and “The Godfather Part II” (Robert De Niro) and the Joker in “The Dark Knight” (Heath Ledger) and “Joker” (Joaquin Phoenix).
If Will Smith wins Best Actor and “King Richard” wins Best Picture, Smith will become the first man to win as an actor and a Best Picture producer in the same year, and the second person after Frances McDormand did it last year for “Nomadland.”
If “The Hand of God” wins Best International Feature Film, Italy will break its own record for the most wins in that category, with 15.
If “Drive My Car” wins Best International Feature Film, Japan will break a tie with Spain and move into third place with its fifth win, behind only Italy (14) and France (12).
If Billie Eilish wins Best Original Song for the title track to “No Time to Die,” she’ll become the first person born in the 21st century to win an Oscar, and the second youngest winner in the category’s history, at 20. Marketa Irglova, the co-writer with Glen Hansard of “Falling Slowly” from “Once,” was a few days shy of her 20th birthday when she won in 2008.
If Lin-Manuel Miranda wins Best Original Song for “Dos Oruguitas,” he’ll become the 17th person to achieve the Emmy-Grammy-Oscar-Tony grand slam known as the EGOT. He will also become the third person to win all four of those awards plus a Pulitzer Prize (a PEGOT?), after Richard Rodgers and Marvin Hamlisch.
If Diane Warren wins Best Original Song for “Somehow You Do” from “Four Good Days,” she’ll break her record 0-for-12 streak in the category. If she loses, she’ll extend that record streak.
If Van Morrison wins Best Original Song for “Down to Joy” from “Belfast,” it’ll be the second time that the only nominated song not performed on the Oscar show was the winner. The first was in 2003, when all the songs except Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” were performed on the show, but “Lose Yourself” won.
If Hans Zimmer wins the Oscar for his original score to “Dune,” he’ll become the composer with the longest stretch between Oscar wins. Although he has 12 nominations, he’s only won once before, for “The Lion King” in 1994, 28 years ago.
If Denzel Washington wins Best Actor for “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” he’ll become only the second actor to win for a Shakespeare adaptation, after Laurence Olivier for “Hamlet” in 1949. Washington would also tie Walter Brennan, Jack Nicholson and Daniel Day-Lewis as the actors with the most Oscar wins, three. (With four wins, Katharine Hepburn holds the record for performers of either gender.)