Every January, as soon as the Oscar nominations are announced, folks immediately take to Twitter to express opinions about who got a nod and who didn’t. It’s tradition. (Or it has been since Twitter, like, existed.) This year there was a lot of “The Lego Movie didn’t get nominated?!” (see director Phil Lord’s tweet about the shutout above) and “None of the actors from Selma got picked?!” And so on.
Those are all (very) valid critiques, but—as in years past—amongst those tweets there are also a few interesting “facts.” You know what we’re talking about. It’s the nugget from that one smarty-pants friend or industry insider who knows some arcane piece of history about the history of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences that no one else seems to know (or maybe they just crunched some box office data to find a tidbit no one else would even think to look for).
But are they all true? RTs do not equal confirmations, after all. We decided to grab some of the most interesting tweet factoids—it’s the whitest Oscars since 1998!—and see if we could confirm them. Here’s what we found out.
True! Mostly. From American Sniper to Whiplash, all of the Best Picture nominees (here) had limited opening weekends before hitting theaters nationwide. It’s actually kind of surprising that’s true since a lot of studios have limited early runs of movies to qualify them for Oscar contention. Dentler is right, however, to put that question mark after “Interesting first”—while it seems possible this is the first time all the Best Picture nominees didn’t open wide in their initial release, it also could be that a previous group of nominees all started in limited release. Because, well, studios have limited early runs to qualify for Oscar consideration.
First of all, it sucks that Ava DuVernay didn’t get nominated. But is she also one in a list of women to be nominated for Best Picture but not Best Director? Yes, but she’s actually the 10th woman whose film has been nominated for Best Picture while she herself didn’t get a Best Director nod. (The list in the tweet above leaves out Penny Marshall, who directed Awakenings.) But also, many films have been nominated for Best Picture and not gotten a directing nod. (Like, a lot.) And, as the New York Times’ Josh Barro noted on Twitter, directors not getting nominated became much more common when the Oscars opened up the Best Picture field in 2009 to allow more nominees in that category than the five who are typically nominated for Best Director. It was also this way in the 1930s and early ’40s and it happened every year during that time. Ironically, One Hundred Men and a Girl fell prey to this discrepancy in the number of nominees.
This is mostly true. It comes from an analysis of Academy voters done by the Los Angeles Times in December 2013. That report found that the Academy is 93 percent white, 76 percent male, and, yes, has an average age of 63.
As the story in this tweet points out, according to a Huffington Post analysis, this is the first year since 1998 that all of the nominees in each of the four main acting categories is white.
Sigh. This is also true.
Fun fact! Cumberbatch played Hawking in, well, Hawking .
This is half true. Edward Norton, who is nominated for Birdman this year, played Bruce Banner in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. However, Lou Ferrigno, who pretty much originated the role on TV in the 1970s (and voices him in the Avengers movies), has never been nominated for an Oscar. But we think Regan meant to say “Ruffalo” instead of “Ferrigno” here. Mark Ruffalo was nominated alongside Norton this year for Foxcatcher.