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HERE are some trivia and fun facts from the 86th Academy Awards: Meryl Streep just keeps making history. Already the most-nominated actor, she adds to her Oscar total with No. 18 for August: Osage County. John Williams also continues his streak of having the most nominations of any living person. He garnered his 49th nod for best original score for The Book Thief (The most in history? That honour goes to Walt Disney with 59). There are eight first-timers in the main acting categories, including three from 12 Years A Slave: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o. The others: Matthew McConaughey, Barkhad Abdi, Jared Leto, Sally Hawkins and June Squibb. Only seven of the 20 acting nominees are previous Oscar winners (and only one is male): Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts and Streep, who is the lone thespian with more than one Academy Award (three total).
Six of the nine Best Picture nominees are based on true stories: American Hustle takes on ABSCAM in the 1970s; 12 Years A Slave explores Solomon Northup being sold into slavery; Dallas Buyers Club is a 1980s-set biopic of Ron Woodroof; Philomena was inspired by a journalist’s account of a woman looking for her long-lost son; The Wolf Of Wall Street showcases the real-life 1990s debauchery of stock broker Jordan Belfort; and Captain Phillips focuses on the 2009 hijacking of a boat by Somali pirates. While there are black actors in contention for the major awards, none are African American: Ejiofor is from England, Abdi was born in Somalia and raised in Yemen, and Nyong’o is Kenyan. Musicians Pharrell Williams and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O each scored their first Oscar nomination -- Williams for the Despicable Me 2 tune Happy and O for The Moon Song from Her. The Oscars are only a little more old-hat for U2, honoured for the Golden Globe-winning song Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom – the Irish rockers were nominated in 2002 for The Hands That Built America from Gangs Of New York. — USA Today/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services