Peele made history as the first black writer to ever win in the category. He also earned nominations for best director and best picture, making him the third person ever to have their directorial debut appear in all three categories. (The two who previously accomplished this feat were Warren Beatty with 1978’s “Heaven Can Wait” and James L. Brooks for 1983’s “Terms of Endearment.”)
A number of other nominees — writer-director Greta Gerwig and cinematographer Rachel Morrison among them — made a splash with their own historic Oscar nods but failed to do so at the actual ceremony. James Ivory, however, wrote the adapted screenplay for “Call Me by Your Name” and at 89 became the oldest person to ever win an Oscar. Cinematographer Roger Deakins made a record of his own when he finally won his first Oscar for his work on “Blade Runner 2049” after losing 13 times throughout his career. Foreign-language film “A Fantastic Woman” earned Chile its first-ever win, and Kobe Bryant, who wrote the animated short “Dear Basketball,” became the first NBA player to take home an Academy Award.
“As basketball players, we’re really supposed to shut up and dribble, but I’m glad we do a little bit more than that,” Bryant said. He accepted the award alongside director Glen Keane.
Robert Lopez, who co-wrote best original song “Remember Me” from “Coco” with his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, earned the distinction of becoming the only person in the world to ever achieve a double EGOT. (Twelve people total, including Mel Brooks and Rita Moreno, have earned at least one Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.) While it’s worth noting that both of Lopez’s Emmys are daytime awards — they’re for his work on the animated children’s series “Wonder Pets” — he has three Grammys, three Tonys and another Oscar, which he and Anderson-Lopez won in 2014 for writing the “Frozen” earworm “Let It Go.”
A few presenters also made history, although in a different manner than returning duo Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, who notoriously flubbed last year’s best picture announcement. Cherokee actor and Vietnam War veteran Wes Studi became one of the first Native Americans to officially present at the Oscars, introducing a montage of clips from war films. (Native American actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather memorably took the stage to refuse the best actor award on behalf of Marlon Brando in 1973.)
“A Fantastic Woman” star Daniela Vega became the first openly transgender presenter when she introduced Sufjan Stevens’s performance of “Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name.” Although Vega was not nominated in the best actress category, director Sebastián Lelio thanked her while accepting the award for best foreign-language film.
“I want to thank the cast of the film, especially the brilliant actor Francisco Reyes Morandé and the inspiration for this movie, Daniela Vega,” he said. “This film was made by a lot of friends and artists. I share this with all of you tonight.”