The biggest night in Hollywood is just around the corner, but this year’s Academy Awards are already cause for celebration. The Oscar nominations include several historic firsts this year, particularly with regard to Asian actors.

The ceremony marks the first time that four Asian actors are competing, across multiple acting categories, to take home a prized 8.5-pound golden statue of their own in the same year. Michelle Yeoh is nominated for Best Actress for Everything Everywhere All at Once, while her co-stars Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu are nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Additionally, Hong Chau received a Best Supporting Actress nod for her role in The Whale.

Those are just a few of the records that came out of this year’s Oscar nominations, with others being set by Hollywood living legends like Steven Spielberg, Cate Blanchett, Angela Bassett, and John Williams.

Don’t miss the 2023 Academy Awards ceremony on March 12 at 8 p.m. ET live on ABC and streaming on FuboTV and Hulu.

Michelle Yeoh

Nomination: Best Actress

michelle yeoh wearing a blue dress, smiling and holding her hands on her forehead in a circle shape
Michelle Yeoh took home a 2023 Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Performance on March 4.
Getty Images

At age 60, Yeoh is the first Asian-identifying woman nominated for Best Actress. She starred in Everything Everywhere All At Once as Evelyn, a Chinese immigrant in America who discovers an ability to connect with versions of herself in parallel universes. Merle Oberon, who was of mixed British and South Asian dissent, earned a Best Actress nomination in 1935 for her role in The Dark Angel, but she concealed her heritage for fear that discrimination could harm her Hollywood career.

“You fluctuate between feeling very shocked and very overwhelmed with joy, but thinking, ‘How can I be the first?,’ because I know of so many amazing actresses and actors where we’ve stood on their shoulders,” Yeoh said on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “I would love to see that [become] a thing of the past, where this is a norm. That you see faces like ours up there being nominated and being given equal opportunity to play those roles.”

Ke Huy Quan

Nomination: Best Supporting Actor

ke huy quan wearing a gray checkered suit and glasses, holding an independent spirit award and smiling
Ke Huy Quan attends the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards, where he won the Best Supporting Performance award.
Getty Images

Ke Huy Quan, previously best known for his iconic child acting performances in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and The Goonies (1985), is now the first Vietnam-born actor nominated for an Oscar. His supporting role in Everything Everywhere All at Once also made him the first Asian male actor to win a SAG award.

Hong Chau

Nomination: Best Supporting Actress

hong chau smiling and tossing her hair back with her right hand, wearing a blue dress and standing in front of a blue photoshoot backdrop
Hong Chau attends the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 4, 2022, in Venice, Italy.
Getty Images

Hong Chau is the first actress of Vietnamese descent to receive an Academy Award nomination. She portrayed a nurse and friend to Brendan Fraser’s character in The Whale. Chau had been widely expected to receive an Oscar nod for her supporting role in Downsizing (2017) but was ultimately snubbed. She told The Independent: “So now, when people ask how it feels to be nominated, it’s strange. I really feel nothing.”

Ana De Armas

Nomination: Best Actress

ana de arnas wears a gold dress and black pants, standing on a red carpet outside a film festival
Ana de Armas at the 70th San Sebastian international film festival on September 24, 2022.
Getty Images

Ana De Armas is the first Cuban actress to be nominated for Best Actress, for her role as iconic real-life movie star Marilyn Monroe in the controversial biopic Blonde.

Angela Bassett

Nomination: Best Supporting Actress

angela bassett wearing a black dress, holding her hands together, standing in front of a water fountain
Angela Bassett attends a screening of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on October 30, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Getty Images

For her role Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Angela Bassett is the first actor to receive an Oscar nomination for a Marvel film. Bassett has previously earned a Best Actress nomination for portraying Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993), making her just the fourth Black actress to receive multiple Oscar nominations, along with Whoopi Goldberg, Octavia Spencer, and Viola Davis.

Steven Spielberg

Nomination: Best Director

steven spielberg, wearing a black suit and glasses, speaks into a microphone at a podium, with the golden bear statue sitting on a table next to him
Steven Spielberg received an Honorary Golden Bear for Lifetime Achievement at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival on February 21, 2023.
Getty Images

Steven Spielberg once again demonstrated his incredible longevity with a Best Director nomination for The Fabelmans, extending his record as the only director with nominations across six different decades. He has received nine Best Director nominations across his career, including his first for Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1978).

John Williams

Nomination: Best Original Score

john williams, wearing a black suit jacket and shirt, waving from a stage
Composer John Williams at the world premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on December 16, 2019, in Hollywood, California
Getty Images

Legendary composer John Williams already holds myriad Oscar records and is currently the most nominated living person with 53 nominations, including this year’s nod for Best Original Score for The Fabelmans. If he wins, he will become the oldest Oscar winner in history at age 91.

Cate Blanchett

Nomination: Best Actress

cate blanchett wearing a beige dress, standing in front of a microphone on a stage, holding an oscar statuette and gesturing with her left arm
In 2014, Cate Blanchett accepted the Oscar for Best Actress for her role in Blue Jasmine.
Getty Images

Cate Blanchett has earned eight Academy Award nominations in her career, winning two for her roles in The Aviator (2004) and Blue Jasmine (2013). She could win another trophy this year for her lead role in Tár, but with the film’s Best Picture nomination, Blanchett has earned a rare distinction: She has appeared in 10 Best Picture nominees, the most of any actress.

In addition to The Aviator and Tár, Blanchett’s Best Picture–nominated films include Elizabeth (1998), the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Babel (2006), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Don’t Look Up (2021), and Nightmare Alley (2021).

Leonardo Di Caprio has also appeared in 10 Best Picture nominees, while Robert De Niro holds the record among actors with 11 films.

Judd Hirsch

Nomination: Best Supporting Actor

judd hirsch, wearing a black suit jacket and shit, smiling and speaking into a microphone on a stage while holding an award
Judd Hirsch accepts the Best Supporting Actor award for The Fabelmans at the AARP Annual Movies for Grownups Awards on January 28, 2023.
Getty Images

Judd Hirsch is the first actor to receive two acting nominations for performances released more than four decades apart. His Best Supporting Actor nod for The Fabelmans comes 42 years after his last nomination for Ordinary People (1980). At age 87, a victory would make him the oldest person to win in an acting category, edging out Christopher Plummer who was 82 when he won for Beginners (2011).

Other Oscar Nomination Records This Year

  • This year marks the first time that all five Best Director nominees also received nominations for writing or co-writing their film’s screenplay. In addition to Steven Spielberg, this includes Martin McDonagh for The Banshees of Inisherin, Todd Field for Tár, Ruben Östlund for Triangle of Sadness, and Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
  • This year’s Academy Awards marks the first time in 88 years that all Best Actor nominees are first-timers. Austin Butler, Brendan Fraser, Colin Farrell, Paul Mescal, and Bill Nighy are up for Best Actor this year. Back in 1935, there were only three nominees: Frank Morgan, William Powell, and Clark Gable, who won it for It Happened One Night.
Headshot of Colin McEvoy
Colin McEvoy
Senior News Editor,

Colin McEvoy joined the staff in 2023, and before that had spent 16 years as a journalist, writer, and communications professional. He is the author of two true crime books: Love Me or Else and Fatal Jealousy. He is also an avid film buff, reader, and lover of great stories.