Why the Oscars 2022s could make history - Will Smith, Kristen Stewart, Jane Campion, Troy Kotsur

Oscars 2022: How this year's Academy Award nominees could make history

Here's a rundown of how this year's nominees could become a part of the history books...

The biggest night of awards season, the Academy Awards, is finally happening – and we couldn't be more excited to see which films and stars take home the most coveted awards of the night. 

MORE: Everything you need to know about the 2022 Oscars: hosts, nominees, start time and how to watch

Many of the best from the past 12 months are going head to head including Sir Kenneth Branagh's Belfast, Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog and cinema blockbuster West Side Story. But did you know that several of this year's winners could potentially be making Oscar history? Ahead of the glittering ceremony, here's a rundown of how this year's nominees could become part of the history books in a number of exciting and diverse ways...

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WATCH: Power of the Dog director Jane Campion is in with the chance of making Oscar history

This year, Jane Campion seems like a sure-fire bet to take home the Oscar for Best Director, and if she does, she will be the third female filmmaker to do so following the groundbreaking wins for Kathryn Bigalow and Chloé Zhao in 2010 and 2021, respectively.

MORE: Everything you need to know about Oscars frontrunner The Power of the Dog

Campion's The Power of the Dog winning just a year after Nomadland would mark a huge step forward for the Academy, which has long overlooked female directors. Only seven women have been nominated in the category in the Academy's nearly 100-year history - and one of them is Campion. She was up for the gong back in 1994 for The Piano.

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Could Jane Campion become the third female filmmaker to win Best Director?

What's more, the prestigious prize is traditionally handed out by the previous year's Best Director meaning that it seems possible that we will see Zhao return to the stage for another historic moment as a female director hands over the award to another female director for the first time ever.

Additionally, Ari Wegner is up for Best Cinematography for her work on the Benedict Cumberbatch-led Western drama. She is the second female cinematographer to receive a nod in the category - and could likely become the second to win.

MORE: Oscars: who has received the most wins and nominations?

Elsewhere, Troy Kotsur is in the running for Best Supporting Actor - and is in with a good chance to win following his success at the BAFTAs earlier this month. He is the first deaf man to be nominated for an acting award for his performance as Frank Rossi in the film CODA, so no matter how the night goes, he has already made Oscar history. 

Interestingly, Marlee Matlin, who plays his wife in the Sian Heder-directed picture was the first deaf female actor to win an Academy Award back in 1987 for Children of a Lesser God.

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Deaf actor Troy Katsur is in the running for Best Supporting Actor

On the topic of actors, while many LGBTQ stars have been nominated and won Oscars in the past, none have done so while openly out. If Kristen Stewart nabs the Best Actress award for her take on Princess Diana in Spencer, she will become the first openly Queer women to do so. 

MORE: Kristen Stewart on difficulty of playing Princess Diana and intimidating accent

The same applies if Ariana DeBose gets Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story, and it could be even more special given that the role in the Stephen Spielberg musical that she is nominated for previously earned her co-star Rita Moreno an Oscar back in 1961. When she played Anita, the now 90-year old actress became the first Latina actress ever to win an Oscar.

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Would you like to see Kristen Stewart take home Best Actress?

As for Best Actor, it could also be a night to remember if either King Richard's Will Smith or The Tragedy of Macbeth star Denzel Washington manage to cinch it as they would become the fifth Black male actor to take home the award. Denzel is among those that have picked up the award before, along with Sidney Poitier, Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker.

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Will Smith is in the running to become the fifth Black male star to win Best Actor

Elsewhere, animated docudrama Flee has already done something no movie has ever done before. It has been nominated in three separate feature film categories: Best Documentary Feature, Best International Feature and Best Animated Feature. If Flee - or Flugt as it's titled in Danish - takes home Best Documentary Feature or Best International Feature, it will be the first animated movie to ever do so.

MORE: Will Smith makes candid admission about King Richard and his career

Lastly, the brilliant Drive My Car has not one but two chances to make Sunday a historical night. The Ryusuke Hamaguchi directed film up for Best Picture as well as Best Director. While either win would mark a first for a Japanese-language feature, by nabbing Best Picture it would become the second time a non-English Language film has taken home the most prestigious award of the night.

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