Oscar geekery has its privileges. I should know. Around this time of year, you get to impress/horrify your friends/colleagues/concerned strangers with all sorts of odd facts and figures about the nominees, their history and the milestones that might go down on Oscar night. So if you're looking for a way to really make a splash at your Oscar party, I am here for you. Here is one fun fact for every category. (Well, fine, except the shorts. But I've already helped you out enough with the shorts.)
[Thanks to fellow Oscar obsessive Nick Davis for some research help on this.]
We've already heard a bunch about how an "Argo" win would be the first time a film won the big prize without an accompanying Best Director nomination since "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1989. But more than that, unless Alan Arkin can pull of a somewhat unlikely win in Best Supporting Actor, "Argo" will be the first film since "Grand Hotel" in 1932 to win Best Picture without a nominated director nor any wins in the acting categories ("Argo" can also make "Grand Hotel"-style history if it wins Best Picture and no other awards, though that seems less likely).
Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhane Wallis, and Naomi Watts represent the fewest total career Oscar nominations (8) of any Best Actress field since 1997 (that field saw Helen Hunt, Judi Dench, and Helena Bonham-Carter each get their first career nomination, Kate Winslet her second, and Julie Christie her third).
Daniel Day-Lewis's performance as Abraham Lincoln is the first Best Actor nomination for playing a real-life U.S. President since Frank Langella in 2008. It's the first nomination for playing any President other than Richard Nixon since 1975 (James Whitmore as Truman in "Give 'Em Hell, Harry"). And the widely expected Day-Lewis win would be the first Best Actor win for someone playing a real-life U.S. President EVER.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
All five nominees in this category have previously won Oscars. That's never happened before.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
2012 is the first year where all five nominees for Supporting Actress play mothers of onscreen children. Ever. EVER.
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
"Moonrise Kingdom" co-screenwriter Roman Coppola is the 6th member of his filmmaking family to be nominated for an Academy Award, after his father Francis Ford Coppola, his grandfather Carmine, his sister Sofia, his aunt Talia Shire, and his cousin Nicolas Cage. If he and Wes Anderson can pull the upset, he would be the 5th in the family to win (Sorry, Talia.).
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
This year is the second time since the Best Picture category expanded in 2009 that all five films in Adapted Screenplay have also been nominated for Best Picture. Before that expansion, it hadn't happened since 1964.
BEST SOUND MIXING / BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY / BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Cinematographer Roger Deakins, composer Thomas Newman, and sound designer Greg P. Russell -- all nominated for "Skyfall" -- have been nominated for a total of 37 Academy Awards between them. None of them have ever won.
BEST FILM EDITING
With a win for "Lincoln," Michael Kahn would take home his 4th Oscar, setting the record for the most wins in this category. All three of his previous wins have been for Steven Spielberg films ("Raiders of the Lost Ark"; "Schindler's List"; "Saving Private Ryan").
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
A win for the late Eiko Ishioka ("Mirror Mirror"; previous winner for "Bram Stoker's Dracula" in 1992) would be the first posthumous Oscar awarded since Heath Ledger in 2008, and the first ever in the Best Costume Design category.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
All three "Lord of the Rings" movies won the Oscar for Visual Effects. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" can keep the streak alive. (Peter's Jackson's "King Kong" also won Best Visual Effects in 2005.)
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Pixar has only been nominated and lost twice in this category: 2001 ("Monsters, Inc." lost to "Shrek") and 2006 ("Cars" lost to "Happy Feet").
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
In the last 10 years, there's only been one year (2007) where no French-language films were nominated. BUT it's also been ten years since a French-language film has won (2003, "The Barbarian Invasions").
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"Skyfall" is the first title song to be nominated since Paul McCartney's "Vanilla Sky" in 2001.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Since 1992 (the previous 20 years), only four movies primarily set in the United States have won for Best Production Design/Art Direction ("Sleepy Hollow"; "Chicago"; "The Aviator"; "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button").
"Les Miserables" would be first musical to win Best Makeup ever. The only previous musical nominee, "Moulin Rouge," lost to "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring."