Could La La Land make history as the movie with the most Oscar wins of all time? Could Meryl Streep take home her fourth golden statuette? And could Barry Jenkins be the first African-American director to be honoured by the Academy? Here’s why the 89th Academy Awards, held Sunday, February 26 in Los Angeles, USA, could be a record-breaking affair.
13 Oscars for La La Land?
Damien Chazelle’s romantic musical has already made history with 14 Oscar nominations which were announced back in January. La La Land equalled the current nominations record, joining ranks with All About Eve, directed by Joseph L Mankiewicz (1951), and James Cameron’s Titanic (1998).
On Sunday evening, the picture -- which stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone -- could at best leave with 13 awards (the movie is nominated twice for Best Original Song). Across-the-board wins would see the movie beat the current 11 Oscars record achieved by Ben-Hur in 1960, Titanic in 1998 and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2004. At the moment, Peter Jackson’s movie is the only film to score a full house, winning 11 Oscars out of 11 nominations.
La La Land could also become the fourth movie to pull off the Big Five, taking the prize in the five major awards categories (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and one of the Best Screenplay awards). It would join previous Big Five winners New York-Miami (1935), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1976) and The Silence of the Lambs (1992).
Similarly, Damien Chazelle could break a 76-year-old record to become the youngest ever Oscar-winning director. The American filmmaker will be just 32 years and 38 days old on the evening of the 89th Oscar’s ceremony, making him 242 days younger than Norman Taurog, the current record-holder with a 1931 win for Skippy.
A 20th nomination for Meryl Streep
Her portrayal of a talentless singer in Florence Foster Jenkins saw Meryl Streep shine once again with a record 20th Oscar nomination. The actor could take home her fourth statue, equalling the legendary Katharine Hepburn, the only actor to have lifted the Oscar as many times in her career. However, the 2017 prize would be Meryl Streep’s third Best Actress Oscar, since her first win, in 1980, was in the Supporting Actress category for Kramer vs. Kramer.
Denzel Washington could also make Academy Awards history. The actor, who scooped an Oscar in 1990 for his supporting role in Glory and in 2002 for Training Day, could be in line for a third award. A win would put the actor on par with triple-Oscar-winning stablemates Jack Nicholson, Daniel Day Lewis and Walter Brennan.
Barry Jenkins: the first Oscar-winning African-American director?
For the first time in many years, seven actors of colour have been nominated for Oscars in 2017, spanning each of the acting categories. Mahershala Ali is nominated for his performance in Moonlight, along with co-star Naomie Harris. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington have both scored nominations for their roles in Fences, along with Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures, Ruth Negga for Loving and Dev Patel for Lion.
But the real groundbreaker could be Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, currently the fourth African-American filmmaker to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, after John Singleton (Boyz N The Hood), Lee Daniels (Precious) and Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave). However, none of them went on to win the prize. Could Barry Jenkins be the first to make Oscars history? Barry Jenkins already holds one record, as the first African-American director to bag simultaneous nominations in the three following categories: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.