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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Mark Caro | For the Sun-Times

Oscars quiz 2023: How well do you know the Academy Award nominees?

A worker lines up Oscar statuettes Thursday in preparation for Sunday’s Academy Awards in Hollywood. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
Last year’s Academy Awards show slapped, and so does this year’s Oscars quiz.

The 95th Academy Awards ceremony airs at 7 p.m. Sunday on ABC, and the producers hope this year no movie violence spills onto the stage. Jimmy Kimmel hosts for the third time, and the nominees, led by “Everything Everywhere All at Once” with 11, include many first-timers and old-timers.

Will you be the “Top Gun” of this year’s “Whale” of a challenge or find yourself in a “Triangle of Sadness?” Start your engines …

1. Which of the following is not true?

a. If Steven Spielberg wins best director for “The Fabelmans,” he’ll become the oldest-ever winner in that category.

b. If Judd Hirsch wins best supporting actor for “The Fabelmans,” he’ll become the oldest-ever winner of an acting Oscar.

c. If John Williams wins for original score for “The Fabelmans,” he’ll become the oldest-ever winner of a competitive Oscar.

d. If Austin Butler wins best actor for “Elvis,” he’ll become the youngest-ever winner in that category.

“Avatar: The Way of Water,” with Trinity Bliss, opened 13 years after the original (20th Century Studios)

2. “Avatar: The Way of Water” is a best picture nominee 13 years after the best picture-nominated “Avatar” (2009). Which movie and its sequel were best picture nominees released further apart?

a. “The Hustler” and “The Color of Money”

b. “The Godfather Part II” and “The Godfather Part III”

c. “Top Gun” and “Top Gun: Maverick”

d. ‘Toy Story 2” and “Toy Story 3”

3. Which co-stars of one current best picture nominee previously co-starred in a movie made by the director of another current best picture nominee?

a. Tom Cruise and Jennifer Connelly

b. Cate Blanchett and Mark Strong

c. Colin Ferrell and Kerry Condon

d. Michelle Williams and Seth Rogen

Michelle Yeoh is a best actress contender for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” (A24)

4. Which of the following is not true about best actress nominee Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)?

a. She represented Malaysia in the 1983 Miss World pageant.

b. She was credited as Michelle Khan in many of her early martial arts films.

c. She performed her own stunts in the James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies.”

d. She did not speak Mandarin when cast in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and had to learn her lines phonetically.

“Elvis” star Austin Butler joins the tradition of actors being nominated for playing great musicians. (Warner Bros.)

5. Austin Butler is a best actor nominee for playing Elvis Presley in “Elvis.” Which music star has not been portrayed in an Oscar-winning performance?

a. Johnny Cash

b. Ray Charles

c. Loretta Lynn

d. Freddie Mercury

Songwriter Diane Warren poses with a miniature statuette at the Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon on Feb. 13. (Chris Pizzello/AP)

6. Diane Warren, who received her 14th best song nomination for “Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman,” keeps getting nominated for movies not widely seen. Which of the following is not a movie for which Warren has received a best song nomination?

a. “Breakthrough”

b. “Four Good Days”

c. “Heartbreak Road”

d. “The Life Ahead”

7. Who of the following is not a first-time nominee this year?

a. Jerry Bruckheimer

b. David Byrne

c. Jamie Lee Curtis

d. Colin Farrell

8. Catherine Martin has three nominations this year — for best picture, production design and costume design for “Elvis.” Which woman previously had four Oscar nominations in one year?

a. Sofia Coppola

b. Emerald Fennell

c. Barbra Streisand

d. Chloe Zhao

Daniel Scheinert (left) and Dan Kwan, a rare directing duo nominated for best director, accept a Film Independent Spirit Award last weekend. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

9. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert are best directing co-nominees for “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” Which directing duo did not share a best director Oscar nomination?

a. Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins

b. Warren Beatty and Buck Henry

c. Joel and Ethan Coen

d. Lana and Lilly Wachowski

Ruben Öslund accepts the Palme d’Or for his film “Triangle of Sadness” at the Cannes International Film Festival in May. (VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

10. Ruben Öslund’s “Triangle of Sadness” is a best picture nominee after winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. What is the only film to win both prizes since “Marty” did in 1955?

a. “The Godfather”

b. “The Last Emperor”

c. “No Country for Old Men”

d. “Parasite”

Ana de Armas plays Marilyn Monroe in “Blonde.” (Netflix)

11. “Blonde” star Ana de Armas is the first best actress nominee of Cuban descent. Who is the only previous acting nominee of Cuban descent?

a. Javier Bardem

b. Cameron Diaz

c. Andy Garcia

d. Elizabeth Peña

Judd Hirsch, first up for an Oscar in 1980, is in the running again for “The Fabelmans.” (Universal Pictures)

12. As a best supporting actor nominee for “The Fabelmans” 42 years after his best supporting actor nomination for 1980’s “Ordinary People,” Judd Hirsch now has the longest gap between Oscar nominations. Who previously went the longest between acting nominations?

a. Charlie Chaplin

b. Henry Fonda

c. Helen Hayes

d. Christopher Plummer

Angela Bassett poses with the two trophies she won at the NAACP Image Awards on Feb. 28, (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

13. Which of the following is not true about best supporting actress nominee Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)?

a. She has only one previous Oscar nomination: best actress 29 years ago for “What’s Love Got To Do with It.”

b. She has been nominated for seven Prime-Time Emmys and two Daytime Emmys and won none.

c. She held the camera for some of her point-of-view shots in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Strange Days” (1995).

d. She received a Director’s Guild of America nomination for directing the 2015 TV movie “Whitney.”

14. “Tár” star Cate Blanchett now has appeared in 10 best picture nominees, a record for a woman. Which male actor has appeared in a record 11 best picture nominees?

a. Robert De Niro

b. Leonardo DiCaprio

c. Jack Nicholson

d. Spencer Tracy

Andrea Riseborough plays a drunk hitting rock bottom in “To Leslie.” (Momentum Pictures)

15. Andrea Riseborough received a surprise best actress nomination for the little-seen “To Leslie” thanks to what the Academy termed “social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern.” Which was not a previous controversial Oscar campaign?

a. Thanks to then-allowed write-in votes, Warner Bros. successfully campaigned for Hal Mohr to win the best cinematography Oscar for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1935) even though he wasn’t nominated.

b. Famous actresses including Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor, Jane Fonda and Diahann Carroll wrote to the academy asking for a rules change so actress Liv Ullmann could be eligible for “Scenes from a Marriage,” which had aired on Swedish TV before its U.S. theatrical run.

c. The cast of “The Wiz,” including Michael Jackson and Diana Ross, marched down Hollywood Boulevard singing “Ease on Down the Road” to persuade the Academy to honor the film with best picture and best song nominations.

d. Miramax arranged for Oscar-winning director Robert Wise (“West Side Story,” “The Sound of Music”) to “write” a newspaper column — actually ghostwritten by a film publicist — urging Academy voters to give the best director award to Martin Scorsese for “Gangs of New York.”


1. d. Actually, if 27-year-old Paul Mescal wins best actor for “Aftersun,” he will become the youngest-ever winner in that category. Adrian Brody was 29 when he won for “The Pianist” (2002). Butler is 31.

2. b. “The Godfather Part III” (1990) came 16 years after “The Godfather Part II” (1974), which won the top prize (as did 1972’s “The Godfather”). “Top Gun” (1986) and “Top Gun: Maverick” were 36 years apart, but “Top Gun” wasn’t nominated for best picture. “The Color of Money” (1986) came 25 years after “The Hustler,” but the sequel didn’t receive a best picture nod. “Toy Story 3” (2010) was a best picture nominee, but “Toy Story 2” (1999), released 11 years earlier, was not.

3. d. “The Fabelmans” co-stars Williams and Rogen co-starred in “Women Talking” director Sarah Polley’s “Take This Waltz” (2011).

4. c. Though she performed her own stunts in previous movies and wanted to do them in “Tomorrow Never Dies,” director Roger Spottiswoode reportedly deemed them too dangerous and said no. He did allow her to do her own fight scenes.

5. a. Though Reese Witherspoon won best actress for playing June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line” (2005), Joaquin Phoenix’s Johnny Cash lost to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Truman Capote in “Capote.” Jamie Foxx won best actor for playing Charles in “Ray” (2004), Sissy Spacek won best actress for playing Lynn in “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (1980), and Rami Malek won best actor for playing Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2018).

6. c. “Heartbreak Road” is not a movie (yet).

7. b. Byrne, nominated for co-writing the best song nominee “This Is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” previously won for co-writing the original score to “The Last Emperor” (1987). Longtime producer Bruckheimer is a first-time nominee for “Top Gun: Maverick,” as are supporting actress nominee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) and actor nominee Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”).

8. d. Zhao won best picture and director and also was nominated for adapted screenplay and editing for “Nomadland” (2021). The other three had three each.

9. d. The Wachowskis, who directed “The Matrix,” have not been nominated. Wise and Robbins won for “West Side Story” (1961), the Coen brothers won for “No Country for Old Men” (2007) and were nominated again for “True Grit” (2010), and Beatty and Henry did not win for “Heaven Can Wait” (1978).

10. d. Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” won the 2019 Palme d’Or and the best picture Oscar. The others all won best picture but not the Palme.

11. c. Garcia’s best supporting actor nomination for “The Godfather Part III” (1990) made him the first Oscar acting nominee of Cuban descent. Diaz and Peña have not been nominated, and Bardem is from Spain.

12. b. Forty-one years passed between Fonda’s best actor nominations for “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940) and “On Golden Pond” (1981). He won for the latter. (He also received a best picture nomination as a producer on “12 Angry Men” (1957).)

13. c. Bassett is multitalented, but, as far as we know, she did not operate a camera on that set.

14. a. De Niro has appeared in 11 best picture nominees, followed by DiCaprio and Nicholson at 10 apiece.

15. c. “The Wiz” cast did not sing “Ease on Down the Road” on Hollywood Boulevard, and the movie received four nominations but not for best picture or song. The actresses’ letter about Ullman’s eligibility was unsuccessful, as was Miramax’s attempt to get Scorsese a best director Oscar for “The Gangs of New York.”

Sources:, IMDB, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Vanity Fair, The Independent.

Mark Caro hosts the weekly Caropop podcast (, which features in-depth conversations with musicians, film people and other artists.

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