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The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - OSCAR SPECIAL - Brian TruiTT

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

Cate Blanchett

Chi­we­tel Ejio­for

Matthew McConaughey

Phar­rell Wil­liams

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