The full list of films, actors, and directors competing for a prized gold statuette was announced during a live-streamed ceremony hosted by Zazie Beetz and Jack Quaid in Los Angeles.
De Niro, 80, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in recognition of his performance as real-life Oklahoma crime boss William King Hale in Martin Scorsese’s Best Picture contender Killers of the Flower Moon.
Other actors in contention for the award include Ryan Gosling (Barbie), Mark Ruffalo (Poor Things), Sterling K Brown (American Fiction), and Robert Downey Jr (Oppenheimer).
De Niro’s latest acting nod comes 49 years after he was nominated for The Godfather Part II in 1975, making him the actor with the longest gap between their first and most recent nominations.
The record was previously held by Katherine Hepburn, with 48 years between her nominations for Morning Glory (which translated into her first win) in 1934 and On Golden Pond in 1982.
De Niro’s first nomination for playing a young Vito Corleone in the Francis Ford Coppola film also turned into his first Oscar win.
His Killers of the Flower Moon co-star Lily Gladstone also made Oscars history after she was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Gladstone, 37, is now the first Native American woman to be nominated for the best actress gong in the Oscars’s nearly 100-year history.
Reacting to the nominations, Gladstone affirmed that while she may be the first Indigenous American to be nominated, she certainly won’t be the last.
In an interview with EW, she said: “It’s incredible, and a huge part of me just wants to say that it shouldn’t have been me. This should have happened so much longer ago.
“I grew up watching performances from Sheila Tousey, who I was lucky enough to share the stage with at one point in my career. Her work in Thunderheart, I feel like after that, she should have been in every film and nominated for everything. There’s no actress alive that surpasses Sheila’s talent.
“She’s one of the true greats,” Gladstone continued.
She also dedicated the honour to “every Indigenous actor whose shoulders I stand on”, adding: “It’s circumstantial that I’m the first, and I’m so very grateful. I just know that I’m not going to be the last, not by a long shot.”
The nominations ceremony made headlines after both Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig were left out of the best actress and best director categories for Barbie, while Gosling was recognised for his performance as the Ken doll.
Gosling said that while he was “extremely honoured” to be nominated, “there is no Ken without Barbie”, in a statement.
“And there is no Barbie movie without Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie, the two people most responsible for this history-making, globally celebrated film,” he added, reacting to the snubs.
“To say that I’m disappointed that they are not nominated in their respective categories would be an understatement,” Gosling said.
In the UK, viewers will be able to follow the 96th Academy Awards live on ITV, from around 11pm, on Sunday 10 March.