Rita Moreno Could Smash a Whole Bunch of Oscars Records With ‘West Side Story’

west side story rita moreno valentina anita oscars

Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story is in cinemas now, and for anyone following along with award season, it’s a film that’s very much in the conversation for the 2022 Oscars.

For starters, if the film were to win Best Picture, it would be only the second remake in history to ever win the award, with the first being Martin Scorsese’s 2006 film The Departed, which was adapted from the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs.

It would be the first time in history that both the original and remake version of a film had both won Best Picture, though, and if there’s anyone who could pull that off, surely it would be Steven Spielberg.

On the topic of Spielberg, if he were to win Best Director next year, it would be his second time winning over 2022 frontrunner Jane Campion. Back in 1993, the two directors went head-to-head, with Spielberg winning for Schindler’s List, over Campion’s The Piano.

But it’s Rita Moreno’s Oscar chances where things get really interesting.

Moreno won Best Supporting Actress back in 1962 for her role as Anita in the original West Side Story film. She was the first, and to date, is the only Latina actress to ever win an acting Oscar.

west side story rita moreno valentina anita oscars
Rita Moreno as Anita in the original West Side Story (1962). Credit: United Artists

In Spielberg’s film — which Moreno also executive produced — Moreno has a supporting role as Valentina, a newly created character.

The possibility of Moreno being nominated and winning for her role as Valentina is huge, because if she managed to pull it off, it would break all kinds of Oscar records.

It’s kind of complicated, so we’ve broken it down. Here are all the records Moreno would break at the 2022 Academy Awards:

  • She’d be the first Latina actress to be nominated twice.
  • At 90, she’d be the oldest nominee, across every category, in history. Currently, documentary feature nominee Agnès Varda, who was nominated for Faces Places in 2018, holds the record. She was 89 when she received her nomination.
  • If she won, she’d break the record for the oldest Oscar winner across every category. Currently holding that title is screenwriter James Ivory, who won Best Adapted Screenplay in 2018 for Call Me By Your Name.
  • She’d be the first actor to win for a new role within a remake of a film that she previously won an award.
  • She’d break the record for the longest time span between her first and last Oscar nominations. Katharine Hepburn currently holds that record, with 48 years between her first nomination in 1936 for Alice Adams, and last in 1982 for On Golden Pond. If Moreno is nominated, it’ll be 60 years between nominations.
  • Finally, she’d also break the record of the longest time between acting nominations. Henry Fonda currently holds that title, with 41 years between his 1942 nomination for The Grapes of Wrath and his 1982 win for On Golden Pond.

Will we see history in the making next year? Only time will tell.

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