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.
Hugh Jackman was nominated for best actor for his role in “Les Miserables”, going head to head with “Lincoln’s” Daniel Day-Lewis. Fellow Australians Naomi Watts is up for best actress for her role in “The Impossible”, while Jacki Weaver was nominated for best supporting actress for “Silver Linings Playbook”.
‘LINCOLN’, ‘LIFE OF PI’, ‘SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK’ IN SPOTLIGHT
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. 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 in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master” and Denzel Washington for “Flight.”
BEST ACTRESS NOMINEES
Best actress nominees are Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty,” Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook,” Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour,” Naomi Watts in “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 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.
BEST SUPPORTING NODS
The best supporting actor race features five Oscar winners, while in the best supporting 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.
“So many talented people gave everything they had to this film, both in front of and behind the camera, and to see all of them receive this kind of recognition is something I am incredibly grateful for.”
“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.
BEST FILM NOMINATIONS
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.”
For Hollywood veteran Spielberg, a best film or best director Oscar would go with his two top-drawer Academy Awards for 1993’s “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan” in 1999.