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Andrew Garfield's Best Actor Nomination Is Even More Significant Than You Realize

In a slightly unusual awards season — with the Golden Globes merely tweeting out awards and the Critic's Choice Awards postponed to March due to COVID-19 concerns — this year's build-up to the Academy Award nominations has been a welcome dose of almost-normalcy. While many of the expected names have bagged several nominations, like "The Power of the Dog" leading with 12 nominations and "Dune" just behind it with 10, there have also been some surprises. For example, "Drive My Car," the Japanese-language film by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, came as a surprise nomination in the Best Picture category (per The New York Times).

Another nominee in the coveted category, alongside the likes of "Licorice Pizza," "Nightmare Alley," "CODA," and "West Side Story," is Lin Manuel Miranda's musical "Tick, Tick... Boom!" Andrew Garfield also earned a node in the Best Actor category for his role as the revered theater composer Jonathan Larson.

Garfield, who won the award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) at this year's Golden Globe Awards, was an expected contender, and now that things are official, we can celebrate the fact that this nomination carries extra significance. 

It's been a long time since anyone took home a Best Actor statue for a musical performance

Yes, you read that right. While musical actors do get nominated in the Actor in a Leading Role category at the Oscars, a win hasn't come their way for 55 years. (per Variety). According to Variety columnist Clayton Davis, musicals provide a fraught prospect when it comes to awards, but a perfect cast and crew can make them a compelling choice for the Academy voters. Miranda's "Tick, Tick... Boom!" was a moving portrayal of Larson's journey as he sought to compose his best work, while navigating relationships and racing against time. Garfield's nomination, then, comes as no surprise.

This Oscar nomination, however, puts Garfield in league with acclaimed theater actors like Hugh Jackman, who was nominated for his role in "Les Misérables" in 2013. Jackman, despite winning the Golden Globe in the same category as Garfield, did not win the Oscar. Before him, Johnny Depp, who was nominated for his role in "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," also did not win.

The last actor nominated for his role in a musical who actually won the award was Rex Harrison for his role in "My Fair Lady" in 1964. If Garfield manages a win here, it would be historic. But, with the likes of Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Javier Bardem in the running, he will face a strong competition.

The Academy Awards are set to take place on March 27.