While there are several firsts among the list of Oscar nominees, here are the top 5 that could break records at the 94th Annual Academy Awards!

Written by: Maria Sato – February 16th, 2022 6:34 pm pst

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Ariana DeBose

It is not surprising that Ariana DeBose’s incredible acting and singing as Anita in West Side Story won her the nomination for Best Supporting Actress. What is even more exciting is that if she wins, it will be monumental in Oscar history. The rising star will be the first Afro-Latina actress and the first openly queer woman of color to win an acting award. Even more specifically, she would record a historical moment as the first LGBTQ Black and the first LGBTQ Latina actress to win.

For OG West Side Story fans, this might be a nostalgic turn of events as DeBose is following the footsteps of actress Rita Moreno. Although Moreno played Valentina in the remake, the 90-year-old actress also played Anita in the classic musical movie in 1961 winning an Oscar as the first Latina to ever win an acting award. After the announcement of Oscar nominations, DeBose took to Twitter expressing her disbelief, and later posted her joy on Instagram.

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington made history as the most-nominated Black actor, marking this as his 10th time at the Oscars. Through his lead role in the Shakespeare adaptation, The Tragedy of Macbeth, the film star continues his legacy receiving nominations. Nevertheless, if he wins, this will be the first award he will be receiving in 20 years, the last time being 2002 when he was awarded for his leading performance in Training Day. His other previous nominations include his work both in front and behind the camera. Films such as Cry Freedom, Glory, Malcolm X, The Hurricane, Flight, Fences and Roman J. Israel, Esq. as well as Fences which he produced himself.

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As the Academy Awards makes efforts in improving its diversity and inclusion, this year’s nominations also included recognition of the disabled community. The film CODA, which is an acronym meaning “child of deaf adults,” was nominated for three categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay for Sian Heder, and Best Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur. The Apple film is the first movie with a predominantly deaf cast to earn nods and CODA star Kotsur is the first deaf male actor to ever earn an Oscar nomination. In an interview with Deadline, the film star, through his ASL interpreter, said, “I hope that Hollywood is beginning to be more open-minded and gives more diverse artists an opportunity to tell their stories. The awareness of ASL and deaf culture is such a positive.”

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Drive My Car

Scoring a milestone in Japanese film history, Drive My Car, will be the country’s most nominated film with four Oscar nods. The three-hour-long movie is a film adaptation of a short story written by one of Japan’s most celebrated authors, Haruki Murakami, and is nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. Landing in the list for Best Picture, Best Director for Ryusuke Hamaguchi, and Best International Feature Film. If it wins, Drive My Car will be the second time that a non-English film will be receiving the award following the Korean film, Parasite.

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Kenneth Branagh

Actor, producer, writer, and director Kenneth Branagh also set a record in Oscar history as the first person to have his film nominated in seven different Oscar categories. This year, he earned his nominations through his semi-autobiographical film Belfast, for Best Director, Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Original Score. Starring Jaime Dornan, the film is Branagh’s most personal film yet and is dedicated to his working-class upbringing in Ireland set in the 1960s.

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The 94th Oscars ceremony will be held on Mar. 27th at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Until then, we will all be glued to our screens getting caught up with the nominated films and preparing our own list of winner predictions.

Maria Sato is a senior at Emerson College majoring in journalism, with a focus in TV broadcast. As a student journalist, she has covered stories from hard news to entertainment both in the U.S. and in Japan.

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