LOS ANGELES — The 94th Academy Awards are almost here, and things may look and feel more normal when the Oscars are handed out this year as the COVID-19 pandemic becomes more of a background thought for Hollywood.
For one, this year's ceremony will return to the Dolby Theater, the awards' home venue for the last two decades, after a brief stint at Los Angeles' Union Station last year. Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes will host the event, after three years of the show going forward without a host.
Brush up on your Oscar knowledge before the big event with some trivia and facts about Hollywood's biggest night this year.
A historic night for Jane Campion
Nominated for best director for "The Power of the Dog," Jane Campion has become the first women to ever be nominated more than once for the award, following her 1994 nomination for "The Piano." It will be Campion's first Oscar, if she wins.
Troy Kotsur trailblazes for Deaf community
For his role in Apple TV Plus' "CODA," Troy Kotsur has been nominated for best supporting actor, becoming the first male actor who is deaf to ever receive an Oscar nomination.
If he wins, however, he will not be the first deaf person to win an Oscar. That distinction goes to his co-star Marlee Matlin, who won best actress in 1987 for her role in "Children of a Lesser God."
Denzel Washington breaks his own record
Denzel Washington has extended his record as the most-nominated Black actor in Oscars history. His tenth nomination is for his portrayal of the titular character in "The Tragedy of Macbeth."
Considered the 21st century's greatest actor by The New York Times, Denzel previously won best supporting actor in 1990 for his role in "Glory," and went on to win best actor in 2002 for his role in "Training Day."
Cate Blanchett's high-profile career
With credits in nine best picture contenders, Cate Blanchett has now appeared in more best picture-nominated films than any actress in history. This year she is featured in two of those films: Guillermo del Toro's psychological thriller "Nightmare Alley" and the political satire film "Don't Look Up."
Blanchett previously won best supporting actress in 2005 while starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Aviator," and she went on to to win best actress in the 2013 comedy-drama "Blue Jasmine."
A night of anticipation for celebrity couples
For the first time ever in Oscars history, two couples received nominations in all four acting categories.
Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons are nominated for best supporting actress and best supporting actor, respectively, having co-starred together in “Power of the Dog."
However, they won't be competing against the other couple: Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. Bardem is nominated for best actor in “Being the Ricardos” and Cruz for best actress in "Parallel Mothers."
A could-be historic night for Lin-Manuel Miranda
Lin-Manuel Miranda, the mastermind behind "Hamilton," is just an Oscar away from becoming an EGOT, which is someone who has won the four major awards in show business: an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.
Luckily for Miranda, that could very well be the case on Sunday, as his song "Dos Oruguitas” from Disney's "Encanto" is one of the contendors.
Miranda was previously nominated for an Oscar in 2017 for "How Far I'll Go" from Disney's "Moana," but lost the prize to "City of Stars" from "La La Land."
Kenneth Branagh joins the ranks of few
"Belfast" writer, director and producer Kenneth Branagh notched a place in Academy Awards history in 2022 as a result of the film's best picture and best original screenplay nod.
He's now the only person ever to be nominated in seven Oscar categories, having previously been nominated for best director ("Henry V"), actor ("Henry V"), best supporting actor ("My Week With Marilyn"), best adapted screenplay ("Hamlet") and best live-action short ("Swan Song").
Branagh is also now one of just three stars who've been nominated in all the major Oscar fields: best picture, director, lead or supporting actor, original screenplay and adapted screenplay. He shares that honor with George Clooney and Warren Beatty.
Another international best picture contender
“Drive My Car” is the first best picture nominee contender from Japan and the second Japanese-language contender after “Letters from Iwo Jima.” It is the 14th best picture contender that was not primarily filmed in English.
More and more international and non-English films have earned best picture nominations over the last few years, with South Korea's "Parasite" in 2020 becoming the first non-English entry to win the award.
Time is of the essence
In order to shorten the broadcast length, eight of the awards this year will be presented before the live televised event and will be later edited into the show: animated short film, documentary short subject, film editing, live action short film, makeup and hairstyling, original score, production design and sound.
A similar move had been attempted in 2019 but was reversed after being negatively received. This year's decision has also faced backlash, with Steven Spielberg telling Deadline: "We all come together to make magic, and I am sad that we will all not be on live television watching magic happen together."
The statuette's "real name" isn't Oscar
The Oscar statuette's official name is the Academy Award of Merit. The solid bronze statuette of a knight holding a crusader's sword and standing on top of a reel of film is 13.5 inches tall and weighs 8.5 pounds.
The origins of its nickname are unclear, but according to the Academy Awards site, the popular story is that Margaret Herrick, the Academy librarian and eventual executive director, said the statuette looked like her uncle Oscar. The nickname was officially adopted in 1939, but it was widely referred to as an Oscar long before.
Top nominees will also leave as "Lord" or "Lady" of Glencoe
Although not officially part of the ceremony, one much talked-about component of the night are the luxury "everyone wins" goodie bags given to contenders in the top categories.
This year's gifts are as lavish as ever, totaling about $140,000, according to Forbes. Some of the items stars will go home with: gold-flaked pretzels, gift cards for botox services, and even a plot of Scottish land. Under Scottish law, that means that the nominees can technically now be referred to as "Lord" or "Lady" Glencoe, referring to the village in Scotland from which the land has been purchased.