Oscars 2012: 8 interesting details about the nominations
1. The black-and-white "The Artist" is the first silent movie (OK, nearly silent) to be nominated for best picture since Ernst Lubitsch's 1928 "The Patriot." If "The Artist" wins the award, it will be the first all-black-and-white picture to win since 1960's "The Apartment." The 1993 best picture winner, "Schindler's List," was in black-and-white, but included a scene in which a little girl wears a bright red coat and a coda sequence that was in color.
2. If Mexican-born Demian Bichir wins the best actor Oscar for his work in "A Better Life," he will be the first Latino to win in the category since Jose Ferrer took home a statuette for 1950's "Cyrano de Bergerac." And if Jean Dujardin wins the lead actor Oscar, he will be the first French actor to earn the honor.
3. Best song nominee "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets" was written by Bret McKenzie, who is best known as a member of the New Zealand comedy duo Flight of the Conchords.
4. If Viola Davis wins lead actress for "The Help," she will be only the second African American woman to win the honor. Halle Berry was the first, for 2001's "Monster's Ball." The first black performer to earn a lead actress nomination was Dorothy Dandridge, for 1954's "Carmen Jones."
5. “Moneyball” earned six nominations Tuesday including best film, actor, supporting actor and screenplay, but it failed to receive a nomination for director Bennett Miller. Only three films have won the best picture Academy Award without the director being nominated -- the very first best picture winner, 1927's "Wings"; 1932's “Grand Hotel" and 1989's "Driving Miss Daisy."
6. Christopher Plummer, who is nominated for the supporting actor Oscar for "Beginners," has never won an Academy Award, but he starred in the 1965 Oscar-winner for best picture, the musical “The Sound of Music.”
7. With his two nods Tuesday for the scores of "The Adventures of Tintin" and "War Horse," John Williams has earned a total of 47 Oscar nominations. The last time he won was for "Schindler’s List."
8. Adapted screenplay nominee Bridget O’Connor, who penned "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" with husband Peter Straughan, died in September at the age of 49 from cancer. The first posthumous Oscar winner was screenwriter Sidney Howard, who won the Academy Award for 1939's "Gone With the Wind."
-- Susan King
Photo: A scene from the "The Muppets" features muppet Walter, his best friend Gary (Jason Segel) and Gary's girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams). Credit: Scott Garfield / Disney Enterprises