32 unbelievable Oscars records, from the oldest winner to the man with 59 nominations

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chloe zhao oscars
Chloé Zhao, winner of the best director and best picture Oscars in 2021 for "Nomadland." Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

Legendary composer John Williams has the most Oscar nominations of any living person, with 52 nods.

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John Williams. Reuters

Williams has won five times, for his work on "Fiddler on the Roof," "Jaws," "Star Wars," "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial," and "Schindler's List."

He is also the only person to ever be nominated for an Oscar in seven different decades.

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John Williams in 1982. Bettmann/Getty Images

He's been nominated at least once a decade since his first nomination for 1968's "Valley of the Dolls."

However, with 22 wins from 59 nominations, Walt Disney is the most decorated Oscar winner in history.

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Walt Disney holding four Oscars. George Silk/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

In one night, in 1954, Disney took home the Oscars for best documentary feature for "The Living Desert," best documentary short subject for "The Alaskan Eskimo," best short subject (cartoon) for "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom," and best short subject (two-reel) for "Bear Country."

Bong Joon-ho is tied with Walt Disney for most Oscars in a single night - "Parasite" earned him four statues.

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The director won four Oscars at last year's ceremony. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

He wrote, directed, and produced "Parasite," which won awards for best original screenplay, best director, best international feature film, and the most prestigious honor of the night, best picture.

"Parasite" also became the 12th film in history to win best picture without receiving a single acting nod.

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"Parasite." CJ Entertainment

The last time this happened was in 2009, with "Slumdog Millionaire." Here are the other 10 movies this has happened to.

"Parasite" was also the first foreign language film to win best picture.

Meryl Streep is the most-nominated actress in Oscar history, with a staggering 21 nominations under her belt. She's won three times.

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Meryl Streep. Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Streep has won best actress twice, for "Sophie's Choice" and "The Iron Lady." She won best supporting actress for "Kramer vs. Kramer."

The country that's taken home best foreign language film the most is Italy, which has produced 14 winners from 32 nominations.

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Director Paolo Sorrentino in 2014. Jason LaVeris/WireImage/Getty Images

Most recently, Italy won for "The Great Beauty," or "La grande bellezza" in 2014, directed by Paolo Sorrentino.

According to Guinness World Records, Martin Scorsese is the most nominated living director in Oscars history, after receiving his ninth nomination for "The Irishman."

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese. Gotham / Contributor / Getty Images

Scorsese failed to take home any Academy Awards at the 2020 ceremony, but he did break a record with his nomination for directing "The Irishman."

Overall, he's been nominated nine times for "Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Goodfellas," "Gangs of New York," "The Aviator," "The Departed," "Hugo," "The Wolf of Wall Street," and "The Irishman." He's only won once, for "The Departed."

Anthony Hopkins took the mantle of oldest winner in an acting category from Christopher Plummer in 2021 - the 83-year-old won best actor for "The Father."

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Hopkins and his first Oscar in 1992. Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Hopkins' win was one of the most shocking moments of the night — almost everyone had considered Chadwick Boseman in his final performance a shoo-in.

Hopkins took the record from Plummer, who was 82 when he won for "Beginners" in 2012.

Plummer is still the oldest nominee in an acting category, though. He was 88 when he was nominated for best actor in "All the Money in the World."

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Christopher Plummer with his award for best supporting actor at the 2012 Oscars. Rick Rowell/ABC via Getty images

He was also nominated in 2010 for "The Last Station."

Plummer died in February 2021 at the age of 91.

But the oldest winner in any category is James Ivory, who was 89 when he took home the Oscar for best adapted screenplay in 2018.

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James Ivory, winner of the best adapted screenplay award for "Call Me By Your Name," poses during the 90th Annual Academy Awards on March 4, 2018. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Ivory won for the "Call Me By Your Name" screenplay, based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman.

The youngest person to ever be nominated for an Oscar was 8-year-old Justin Henry for "Kramer vs. Kramer" in 1979.

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"Kramer vs. Kramer." Columbia Pictures

Henry is now 49 and acts sporadically.

And the youngest winner was 10-year-old Tatum O'Neal for "Paper Moon" in 1974. She won best supporting actress.

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Tatum O'Neal. Hulton Archive/Getty Images

O'Neal co-starred in "Paper Moon" with her father, Ryan O'Neal.

But the true youngest winner is Shirley Temple, who was 6 when she won the Academy Juvenile Award in 1935. This category doesn't exist anymore.

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Shirley Temple as a child star wearing an accordion pleated dress. Bettmann/Getty Images

Other notable winners include Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Bobby Driscoll, and Margaret O'Brien.

Three movies are tied for the most wins. "Ben-Hur" (1959), "Titanic" (1997), and "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" (2003) all won 11 awards.

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"Titanic." Paramount Pictures

Last year, "Joker" was nominated 11 times but only won two awards (best actor and best original score).

Three movies are also tied for the most nominations with 14 Oscar nods: "All About Eve" (1950), "Titanic" (1997), and "La La Land" (2016).

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"La La Land." Lionsgate

As previously stated, "Titanic" went on to win 11 awards. "All About Eve" and "La La Land" each took home six statues.

The longest winner of best picture in Oscars history is 1939's "Gone with the Wind," which clocks in at 3 hours, 58 minutes.

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"Gone with the Wind." Loews Cineplex Entertainment

That's even longer than the notoriously long "The Irishman."

The most prestigious award of the night is best picture - but it doesn't always go to the best movie. The worst-reviewed winner, according to Rotten Tomatoes, is 1929 winner "The Broadway Melody." It has a 33%.

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"The Broadway Melody." MGM

"'The Broadway Melody' is interesting as an example of an early Hollywood musical, but otherwise, it's essentially bereft of appeal for modern audiences," writes Rotten Tomatoes.

This year's winner, "Nomadland," has a 94% critics score.

In 2020, people were upset that women were again shut out of the best director category. The first woman to win was Kathryn Bigelow in 2009 for "The Hurt Locker."

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Kathryn Bigelow. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Prior to Bigelow, just three women had been nominated for directing — Lina Wertmüller for 1975's "Seven Beauties," Jane Campion for 1993's "The Piano," and Sofia Coppola for 2003's "Lost in Translation."

In 2021, two women were recognized for directing, and winner Chloé Zhao became the first Asian woman - and second woman overall - to take home the award.

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Chloé Zhao holding her first Oscar. ABC via Getty Images

She won for "Nomadland."

Perhaps surprisingly, with her win, she'll become the first best director winner to helm a Marvel movie — her MCU debut, "Eternals," is set for November 2021.

Also in 2021, Steven Yeun became the first Asian American to be nominated for best actor.

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Steven Yeun attends the 93rd Academy Awards on April 25, 2021. Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

While Yeun lost the award to Anthony Hopkins, his nomination for "Minari" was still a record-breaking moment.

Only one movie to win best picture has been rated X: "Midnight Cowboy" (1969).

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"Midnight Cowboy." United Artists

It was mainly rated X simply because it wasn't suitable for kids — the "X" rating was almost brand new in 1969 and didn't have the same connotations as it does today. However, MTV does point out the film has "a fair amount of nudity and some brief scenes of sexual activity."

When it was later re-rated, it earned an R rating.

Only two sequels have won best picture: "The Godfather Part II" (1974) and "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2003).

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"The Godfather Part II." Paramount Pictures

In total, seven sequels have been nominated for Best Picture — "Toy Story 3," "Mad Max: Fury Road," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," "The Godfather Part III," and "The Bells of St. Mary's," plus the two winners.

You may be wondering, what about "The Silence of the Lambs"? The Anthony Hopkins/Jodie Foster joint could be considered a sequel to "Manhunter," but it's really more of a reboot.

When Cate Blanchett earned an Oscar for playing Katharine Hepburn in 2004's "The Aviator," she became the first person to win an Oscar for playing an Oscar winner.

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Cate Blanchett in "The Aviator" and the real Katharine Hepburn. Warner Bros.; Bettmann/Getty Images

She's not the only actor to win an Oscar for portraying an icon, but she was the first to win an Oscar for portraying an Oscar winner.

Hepburn herself holds the record for most Oscars for acting - she won four times.

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Katharine Hepburn. Reuters Pictures

Hepburn won in 1933, 1967, 1968, and 1981 for "Morning Glory," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," "The Lion in Winter," and "On Golden Pond," respectively.

Though, famously, she never attended an awards show to collect her statues in person.

The first Black actor to win an Oscar was Hattie McDaniel in 1939.

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Hattie McDaniel in 1940. Bettmann/Getty Images

McDaniel won the best supporting actress award for "Gone with the Wind," in which she played Mammy, a role that's since been mired in controversy.

Sidney Poitier became the first Black man to win when he was awarded best actor for "Lilies of the Field" (1963).

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Sidney Poitier. Bettmann/Getty Images

Poitier had previously been nominated for his role in 1958's "The Defiant Ones."

With four nominations, Viola Davis is the most Oscar-nominated Black actress in history.

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Viola Davis and her Oscar. ABC/Tyler Golden

Davis has been nominated four times — twice for best supporting actress for "Doubt" and "Fences" (which she won), and twice for best actress for "The Help" and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom."

"For me, it's a reflection of the lack of opportunities and access to opportunities people of color have had in this business. If me, going back to the Oscars four times in 2021, makes me the most nominated Black actress in history, that's a testament to the sheer lack of material there has been out there for artists of color," said Davis in a February 2021 interview with Variety.

Octavia Spencer is right behind her with three nominations ("The Help," "Hidden Figures," and "The Shape of Water"). Whoopi Goldberg, with two, is the only other Black actress with more than one competitive Oscar ("Ghost" and "The Color Purple").

Marlee Matlin became the first deaf person to win an Oscar when she won for 1986's "Children of a Lesser God."

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Marlee Matlin. Bettmann/Getty Images

In addition to being the first deaf person to win, Matlin is also the youngest woman to win best actress. She was 21.

Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro were the only people to win Oscars for playing the same role, Vito Corleone, in "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II" - until Joaquin Phoenix took home the Oscar for "Joker."

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"The Dark Knight" and "Joker." Warner Bros. Pictures.

Brando portrayed Vito Corleone as an old man, with adult kids and grandkids. De Niro played Corleone as a young man who had just emigrated from Italy.

When Joaquin Phoenix won for "Joker" last year, it marked the second time this happened, as Heath Ledger posthumously won for his performance as the Joker in 2008's "The Dark Knight."

Only two people have won Oscars posthumously: Heath Ledger for "The Dark Knight" and Peter Finch for "Network."

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Ledger and Finch. BILLY FARRELL/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; Photoshot/Getty Images

Joaquin Phoenix thanked Ledger in his SAG Awards acceptance speech, calling Ledger his "favorite actor."

This year, Jamika Wilson and Mia Neal became the first Black winners of the best makeup and hairstyling award for their work on "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," according to Guinness.

Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson, and Sergio Lopez-Rivera
Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson, and Sergio Lopez-Rivera. Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images

They shared the award with Sergio Lopez-Rivera, as well.

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