There were several firsts across multiple categories, and the slate of nominees as a whole appeared more diverse than in previous years. Openly queer actors were nominated in several categories for the first time in decades, a woman got a second Best Director nomination, and Beyoncé scored a personal achievement.
The first time a woman has been nominated for Best Director twice
Jane Campion, whose critically acclaimed homoerotic Western The Power of the Dog swept the Oscars with the most nominations of any film in 2022, nabbed one herself for Best Director. It is the second Best Director nomination of Campion's career; her first was for the 1993 movie The Piano. It marks the first time a woman has ever been nominated in that category twice.
The first time two openly queer actors have been nominated
Kristen Stewart, the star of Spencer, was nominated for Best Actress, and Ariana DeBose was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in West Side Story. The last time an openly gay actor was nominated was 20 years ago, when Ian McKellen was vying for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
First Afro-Latino actor to ever be nominated
West Side Story's Ariana DeBose is also the first Afro-Latino performer to be nominated in the Academy Awards.
First deaf actor nominated in 35 years
Troy Kotsur was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in CODA. The last deaf actor to be nominated was Marlee Matlin, who won Best Actress for the 1987 film Children of a Lesser God. Matlin stars in CODA alongside Kotsur.
The first time two couples were nominated in different categories
Penélope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) and Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos), who have been married since 2010, were nominated in lead acting categories. Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, who have two children together and costar in The Power of the Dog, were both nominated in supporting acting categories.
Dunst told Variety it was "like a storybook" to be nominated with Plemons. "It’s just so crazy to be a couple and have our first nominations together," she said.
Beyoncé's first Oscar nomination
Beyoncé, who already has more Grammys than any other woman artist in history, received her first Oscar nomination this year in the Best Original Song category. She and Dixson are credited as songwriters for "Be Alive" from the biopic about Venus and Serena Williams' dad, King Richard.