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12 Wins That Could Make History at the Oscars This Sunday

Here are a few of the biggest Oscar milestones to look out for on Sunday night.
12 Wins That Could Make History at the Oscars This Sunday

Hollywood’s biggest night is upon us yet again, which means there are new opportunities for record-breaking wins and historic firsts—and this year, there are quite a few of them, particularly when it comes to black performers and filmmakers. Below you’ll find a few of the biggest Oscar milestones to look out for on Sunday night, according to Slate.

Most black winners in a single night

18 black people are nominated for Academy Awards this year. If even just four of those nominees take home Oscars on Sunday night, that will mark the highest total in Oscars history.

Barry Jenkins, first black person to win Best Director

Only three other black filmmakers have been nominated in this category before Moonlight’s Jenkins: John Singleton (who remains the youngest Best Director nominee ever), Lee Daniels, and Steve McQueen.

Damien Chazelle, youngest Best Director winner

At the fourth Academy Awards ceremony in 1931, Norman Taurog was just 32 years and 260 days old when he won for Skippy. Should Chazelle take the gold, he’ll be a few months younger than Taurog was, at 32 years and 38 days old.

Denzel Washington, first black person to win three Academy Awards

The legend is currently tied with sound engineers Russell Williams (who won back-to-back awards for Glory and Dances With Wolves) and Willie D. Burton (Bird and Dreamgirls) for most number of competitive Oscars won, at two each. If he wins Best Actor and/or Best Picture for Fences—he’s credited as a producer—he’ll be the most decorated black person in academy history.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, youngest EGOT winner

Frozen composer Robert Lopez was just 38 when he achieved the coveted “grand slam” of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony wins a few years ago, with “Let It Go” for Best Original Song. At 37, Hamilton superstar Miranda could best Lopez’s record by winning in the same category for Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go.”

Viola Davis, first black person to receive the triple crown of acting

If she wins Best Supporting Actress for reprising her Tony-winning role in Fences, Davis will join an elite club of just 22 others who have at least one competitive Emmy, Tony, and Oscar.

O.J.: Made in America, longest film to win an Academy Award

Ezra Edelman’s ESPN-produced docuseries has sparked some debate over its classification as a feature film due to its multipart format and television rollout. (In order to qualify for the Academy Awards, it also had a theatrical run in New York and Los Angeles.) At 467 minutes, it could become the longest Oscar winner ever, beating out the 1969 Best Foreign Language Film winner War and Peace (431 minutes).

La La Land ties or surpasses most wins for a single film

The current record is 11, held by The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Titanic, and Ben-Hur, and La La Land is nominated for a record-tying 14 nominations. The academy darling is also a long shot to win the “Big Five” (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay) to tie with It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Silence of the Lambs, though it seems unlikely to take Best Actor.

Meryl Streep, tie for most acting awards

Though Katharine Hepburn would still have the most awards as a lead actor, Streep could match the legendary screen star’s 35-year-old feat for most acting awards, period, with a fourth win for Florence Foster Jenkins.

Kimberly Steward, first black woman to win Best Picture

Steward produced the tearjerker Manchester by the Sea. The only other black woman to be nominated in this category is Oprah Winfrey, for Selma.

Ava DuVernay, first black woman to win Best Documentary

The filmmaker, who was famously shut out of the Best Director category for Selma a couple of years ago, could nab her first Oscar in this category for 13th , her searing doc about the U.S. prison-industrial complex.

Octavia Spencer, first black woman to win multiple Academy Awards

Until this year, when Spencer was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for Hidden Figures, no black woman before her had ever been nominated for another Academy Award after having won one already. She previously won in the same category for The Help.

Other potential firsts to look out for

La La Land sound engineer Ai-Ling Lee would be the first Asian winner for Best Sound Editing. Arrival’s Bradford Young and Moonlight’s Joi McMillon would be the first black winners for Best Cinematography and Best Editing, respectively. Kubo and the Two Strings would be the first animated film to win Best Visual Effects.