Every Oscar winner’s name is etched in the annals of Hollywood lore. However, not everyone breaks a record, ends a long drought, or sets a new standard when they take home an Academy Award. But in 2020, a select few have a chance to make history, either for themselves or for the industry. Here are eight nominees to keep an eye on this year.
Scarlett Johansson: Two Acting Wins in One Year
The Black Widow star already has a big 2020 ahead of her, and it will be a historic one if she wins twice at the Oscars. She earned a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Marriage Story, as well as one for Best Supporting Actress for JoJo Rabbit. She’s only the twelfth person to ever accomplish the acting double dip in the same year. And if she hears her name called twice, she’d be the first to actually pull off a double win.
Diane Warren: First Win After 11 Nominations
For years, Susan Lucci was the poster child for never winning her industry’s top award. Eventually, the soap star ended her losing streak after 19 Emmy nominations. In a similar vein, this could be the year songwriter Diane Warren finally sees her own drought end. Her song “I’m Standing with You” from Breakthrough marks the eleventh time since 1988 she has been nominated for Best Original Song. A win at this year’s Oscars would be her first, and she’s optimistic this could finally be her big night.
Thomas Newman: First Win After 15 Nominations
Diane Warren isn’t the only musician looking to take home their first golden statue after a long wait. This year, Thomas Newman earned his fifteenth career Oscar nomination: Best Original Score for 1917, his fourteenth nomination in the category. Despite an impressive résumé that includes his work on The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty, and Wall-E, he’s never had his named called to the stage. If he wins, the camera should follow him from his seat to the podium in one continuous shot.
Parasite: First Foreign Language Best Picture Winner
Roma fell short of becoming the first foreign language film to win the big prize just last year. Parasite is one of the favorites in 2020, and it is more than worthy of breaking that English-language glass ceiling. Even if it doesn’t win Best Picture, it’s still primed to make history. A win in the Best Foreign Language Film category would be the first time a South Korean movie took home the Oscar.
Cynthia Erivo: First to Win Acting and Best Song in the Same Year
Harriet star Cynthia Erivo is only the third person to ever earn both an acting and best song nomination in the same year. Mary J. Blige and Lady Gaga were the first two, but neither were able to win both. Erivo has already accomplished something truly incredible, but if she were to earn two Oscars this year she’d pull off a truly historic double win. But even if she only takes home one award, it’ll still be a big deal…
Cynthia Erivo: Youngest EGOT Winner
A win for either Best Actress in a Leading Role or Original Song would make Erivo the youngest EGOT winner in history. Only 16 others have ever earned that incredible quadruple feat. John Legend, who completed his EGOT in 2018, currently holds the record at 39. But Erivo is just 33 years old!
The Lion King: First Fully Animated Visual Effects Winner
Lots of Best Visual Effects winners have featured animation. For instance, animation/live-action hybrids Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and The Jungle Book took home the Oscar in 1989 and 2016, respectively. But never before has a totally animated film been awarded the prize. That could change in 2020 with Disney’s not-at-all-live-action completely animated version of The Lion King.
Sam Mendes: Longest Gap Between Best Director Wins
Twenty-one filmmakers have won Best Director more than once, and Sam Mendes, awarded the Oscar for American Beauty at the 2000 Academy Awards, could join that group this year. And if he wins for directing 1917, he will also set a different record: Mendes will have the title for longest gap between wins. Billy Wilder currently holds that record at 15 years (he won for The Lost Weekend 1945 and then The Apartment 1960). A second win for Mendes would set the new mark at 20 years.
Featured Image: Focus Features/Disney/Fox Searchlight