But the statistical quirks that the annual event throws up can be as intriguing as tracking which movie wins the most statuettes.
Here are some fun facts and figures about this year’s list of nominees:
– Female filmmakers recognized –
The 7,000-plus voters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences managed to remember this year that women make movies too.
Greta Gerwig, recognized for “Lady Bird,” is only the fifth female best director nominee, and the first since Kathryn Bigelow won for “The Hurt Locker” in 2010.
Rachel Morrison, the director of photography on “Mudbound,” is the first woman ever to receive a nomination for best cinematography.
– Long live Queen Meryl –
Meryl Streep has increased her lead as the most nominated performer in history with her 21st nod for Steven Spielberg’s “The Post.”
Her three wins were for “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), “Sophie’s Choice” (1982) and “The Iron Lady” (2011).
– All hail the maestro –
John Williams has added to his record number of music scoring nominations with his 46th for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”
His overall total of 51 nominations — including five for original song — is the most for any living person, and second only to Walt Disney at 59.
– Kobe Bryant: Oscars MVP? –
Retired basketball superstar Kobe Bryant is an Oscar nominee thanks to his collaboration with artist Glen Keane and composer John Williams for the short “Dear Basketball.”
“What?? This is beyond the realm of imagination,” Bryant, 39, tweeted following the announcement.
Awards prediction website Gold Derby says Bryant is the odds-on favorite to win the Oscar for best animated short, but such a victory may not please everyone.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it will be a reminder that the Los Angeles Lakers legend was arrested over the suspected rape of a 19-year-old hotel worker in Colorado in 2003.
Bryant admitted to a sexual encounter, but insisted it was consensual. The criminal case was dropped when the accuser refused to testify, but Bryant faced a civil suit.
As part of an out-of-court settlement, he publicly apologized to his accuser, but admitted no guilt.
– Snubs and surprises –
Among this year’s big snubs were Golden Globes nominees Armie Hammer (“Call Me by Your Name”) and Hong Chau (“Downsizing”), as well as blockbuster hit “Wonder Woman,” which didn’t get a single nomination.
“Mudbound” and “The Big Sick” were conspicuously absent from the best picture category, though they received other nominations.
Steven Spielberg (“The Post”) and Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards”) were both left out of the best director category, despite helming two of the most acclaimed movies of the year.
On the other side of the coin, Denzel Washington picked up a surprise eighth nomination for acting, expanding his own record as the most-nominated black actor in Oscars history. He has won twice, for “Glory” and “Training Day.”
Washington also had a nomination last year for best picture for “Fences,” which he directed and co-produced.