The numbers behind this year’s record-breaking Oscar nominations

Ian Jones, PA
·3-min read

Here are some of the key statistics about the 2021 Oscar nominations:

– British success

This year’s Oscars represent the best showing by British acting talent for nearly two decades.

A total of eight of the 20 acting nominations are for British performers.

This is the highest proportion since 2002, when the figure was also eight out of 20.

Last year British performers accounted for just four of the 20 nominees.

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(PA Graphics)

The eight British acting nominees this year are: Riz Ahmed (best actor, Sound Of Metal); Sir Anthony Hopkins (best actor, The Father); Gary Oldman (best actor, Mank); Vanessa Kirby (best actress, Pieces Of A Woman); Carey Mulligan (best actress, Promising Young Woman); Sacha Baron Cohen (best supporting actor, The Trial Of The Chicago 7); Daniel Kaluuya (best supporting actor, Judas & The Black Messiah); and Olivia Colman (best supporting actress, The Father).

– Diversity of actors

Nine of the 20 acting nominations have gone to non-white performers.

This is the highest proportion of non-white acting nominations in the 93-year history of the Academy Awards.

It represents a major turnaround from last year, when only one acting nominee was non-white.

Before this year the highest proportion of non-white nominees in the acting categories was seven out of 20 in 2017.

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(PA Graphics)

– Diversity of directors

It is the first time more than one woman has been nominated for directing in the same year.

Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) and Chloe Zhao (Nomadland) are only the sixth and seventh women in the history of the Academy Awards to get a best director nomination.

The previous nominees were Lina Wertmuller (for Seven Beauties in 1977); Jane Campion (The Piano, 1994); Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation, 2004); Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, 2010); and Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird, 2018).

Kathryn Bigelow is the only woman to ever win best director.

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(PA Graphics)

Chloe Zhao is the first non-white woman to be nominated for best director, while Emerald Fennell is the first woman to be nominated for her feature film directing debut.

Chloe Zhao is also the first woman to receive four nominations in a single year: best director, best film editing, best adapted screenplay and best film.

– Posthumous nominations

Chadwick Boseman becomes only the seventh performer in the history of the Academy Awards to receive a posthumous nomination, for best actor in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

The others were James Dean (best actor for East Of Eden in 1956 and Giant in 1957); Spencer Tracy (best actor for Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner in 1968); Peter Finch (best actor for Network in 1977); Ralph Richardson (best supporting actor for Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, Lord Of The Apes in 1985); Massimo Troisi (best actor for Il Postino in 1996) and Heath Ledger (best supporting actor for The Dark Knight in 2009).

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(PA Graphics)

Peter Finch and Heath Ledger are the only two actors to win an Oscar posthumously.

– Frontrunners

One film emerged from the nominations as the sole frontrunner: Mank, which collected 10 nominations including best director for David Fincher, best actor for Gary Oldman, best supporting actor for Amanda Seyfried, and best film.

A little way behind on six nominations were six films: The Father, Judas & The Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Sound Of Metal and The Trial Of The Chicago 7.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Promising Young Woman both got five nominations, while News Of The World received four.