The Academy Awards have already broken barriers this year.
The 90th annual show announced its nominations Tuesday morning — and along with them, a number of records were broken. While Meryl Streep extended her nominations record to 21, people were most excited about the strides made in diversifying several prominent categories.
Read on for the biggest ones for this year.
Rachel Morrison is the first woman ever nominated for Best Cinematography
Mudbound‘s Morrison became the first woman nominated in the cinematography category after 89 years. The director of photography’s nomination broke the glass ceiling on the last remaining category without a female nomination, meaning women have now factored in all current Academy Award categories.
“While it’s hard to believe that this ceiling has taken so long to break, I am absolutely humbled and thrilled to receive this great honor,” Morrison said in a statement on Oscar nominations morning. “I hope this nomination serves to encourage more women to throw a camera over their shoulder or to follow their dream no matter how distant it might appear.”
Agnes Varda is the oldest nominee in Oscar history
The 89-year-old Belgian-born director earned an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary for Faces Places, and made history in the process. Reached by Vulture shortly after learning of the nomination and asked to comment on being nominated at her age, Varda said, “I’m just saying, I’m not dead yet.” Varda was awarded a Governors Award by the Academy late last year.
Octavia Spencer is the first black actress to follow up an Oscar win with two nominations
Spencer is breaking all kinds of records — set by herself. After becoming the first black actress to receive a nomination following her 2011 win for The Help, the actress followed it up this year by extending her post-win nomination total to two thanks for her Supporting Actress nod for The Shape of Water. Spencer also became the first black actress to receive back-to-back nominations after her Supporting Actress nod for Hidden Figures last year. She is now tied with Viola Davis for most nominated black actress of all time with three.
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Dee Rees is the first black woman nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for Mudbound
Mudbound’s Dee Rees didn’t make it in a crowded director field, but she did make history in another major way. Rees became the first black woman nominated for adapted screenplay for her co-writing credit alongside Virgil Williams. The director also helped put Morrison in the running for cinematography by hiring an all-female staff for the senior positions on her Netflix movie.
Mary J. Blige is the first person nominated for an acting performance and original song
This one sounds impossible, given actors like Jennifer Hudson have won Oscars while singing nominated songs. But since the Best Original Song trophy goes to the writers of the tune, Blige becomes the first person ever to be nominated for an acting performance and original song. The nine-time Grammy winner co-wrote “Mighty River” for Mudbound, for which she is also nominated in the Supporting Actress category.
Yance Ford became the first trans director nominated for an Oscar
The Academy also made strides in the LGBTQ community. Ford’s Strong Island received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature, making him the first trans director to be recognized in the 90 years of the Academy Awards.
“I think that everybody out there should know that there is a generation of trans directors who are coming for their Oscars,” Ford told EW after his nomination. “So this might be the first, but it certainly won’t be the last.”
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Greta Gerwig is the fifth woman ever nominated for Best Director (and first in 8 years)
Lady Bird writer/director Greta Gerwig scored nominations in both the Best Original Screenplay category and Best Director, but its the latter that had her join the history books. Gerwig is only the fifth ever woman nominated in the category and the first since Kathryn Bigelow’s historic win in 2009 for The Hurt Locker.
“The women who have been filmmakers who are both my peers and the ones who have come before me have meant so much to me, and they’re the reason that I found the courage to do this,” Gerwig told EW after her nomination. “I remember when Sofia Coppola was nominated and how much that meant to me. I remember when Kathryn Bigelow won and what that felt like, and I feel like those women are the reason I was able to do this.”
Jordan Peele is the fifth black filmmaker ever nominated for Best Director
Peele is poised to make history. The Get Out writer/director could become the first black director to win the category after being only the fifth ever nominated in the show’s history.
“It means a lot, it means a lot,” he told EW after scoring a Best Director nomination. “You know, I think the reason I put off my dream of directing to possibly never happen is because there was such a limited amount of role models, of black role models, in the field. Spike Lee, John Singleton, the Hughes brothers were all very inspiring. But it was just very clear to me from a young age that they were the exceptions to the rule. So, to be able to possibly be one of the people that a young person of color, or a young outsider, can look up to as a sign that it’s possible, is pretty intense and pretty insane.”
The 90th Annual Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will be held at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4 and will air live on ABC at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.