Steven Spielberg's taut political drama "Lincoln" won the Oscars election Thursday with 12 nominations for the Academy Awards, the climax of Hollywood's annual prizes season.
Taiwan-born Ang Lee's visually stunning 3D adventure "Life of Pi," based on the novel by Yann Martel, earned 11 nods from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, ahead of the Oscars ceremony on February 24.
"Silver Linings Playbook" meanwhile became the first film since 1981 to win nominations in all four acting categories plus best film, best director and best writer, according to the Academy.
And James Bond blockbuster "Skyfall" won a rare five nominations for the 007 franchise, albeit none in the major categories but including for Grammy-winning songstress Adele, shortlisted for best song for the theme tune.
Spielberg, whose latest film recounts Abraham Lincoln's scheming to secure votes in Congress to abolish slavery, said he was woken by his publicist after the predawn announcement in Beverly Hills.
"It's the best wake up call I've had in 14 years! I'm always surprised by recognition... I'm deeply grateful," said the veteran director, as cited by the Hollywood Reporter.
"Lincoln" star Daniel Day-Lewis was nominated for best actor, as expected, against Hugh Jackman in "Les Miserables," Bradley Cooper for "Silver Linings Playbook," Joaquin Phoenix for "The Master" and Denzel Washington for "Flight."
Best actress nominees are Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty," Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook," Emmanuelle Riva for "Amour," Naomi Watts for "The Impossible" and Quvenzhane Wallis for "Beasts of the Southern Wild."
Both "Lincoln" and "Life of Pi" are nominated for the coveted best film prize, along with "Silver Linings Playbook" and the musical "Les Miserables," which each earned eight nods, and Iran hostage drama "Argo" with seven.
Amid the expected celebrations, there were some surprising snubs.
While "Argo" and Osama bin Laden manhunt film "Zero Dark Thirty" were each nominated for best picture, Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow -- widely seen as shoo-ins for best director -- failed to secure nods in the category.
The best supporting actor race features five Oscar winners, while in the best actress race, the oldest-ever nominee, 85-year-old Frenchwoman Riva, will face off against the youngest, nine-year-old Wallis.
Beyond best film, "Lincoln" earned nods for best director for Spielberg and best supporting actor for Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens.
The film -- about the 16th US president's drive to abolish slavery during the American Civil War -- had already picked up most nods for the Golden Globes, competing in seven categories in the show this weekend.
Its British-Irish star, Day-Lewis, will be vying to win a record third best actor Oscar, after winning the accolade in 1990 for "My Left Foot" and in 2008 for "There Will Be Blood."
"Life of Pi," about an Indian boy cast adrift with a Bengal tiger, will be Lee's third bid for Oscars glory after a 2001 nod for "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and a best director 2006 win for "Brokeback Mountain."
"I am deeply honored and frankly a little overwhelmed by all of the nominations," said Lee.
"Silver Linings Playbook," a romantic comedy drama, has also drawn lots of Hollywood buzz, notably for "Hangover" star Cooper, but also for being a relatively lighthearted film in a field heavy on drama and history.
Heartthrob Cooper woke up earlier than Spielberg.
‘I get up crazy early anyway, and I told myself, 'OK, I'll take my dog to the beach, and just see what happens. Whatever goes down.' So I watched with my mom and my dog. These things are once in a lifetime," he said.
The best film race features nine films: "Amour," "Argo," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Django Unchained," "Les Miserables," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Zero Dark Thirty."
Up for best supporting actor are Jones for "Lincoln," Alan Arkin for "Argo," Robert De Niro for "Silver Linings Playbook," Philip Seymour Hoffman for "The Master" and Christoph Waltz for "Django Unchained."
Best supporting actress nominees are Sally Field for "Lincoln," Amy Adams for "The Master," Anne Hathaway for "Les Miserables," Helen Hunt for "The Sessions," and Jacki Weaver for "Silver Linings Playbook."
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