BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The Civil War saga "Lincoln" leads the Academy Awards with 12 nominations, including best picture, director for Steven Spielberg and acting honors for Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.
Also among the 9 nominees for best picture Thursday: the old-age love story "Amour"; the Iran hostage thriller "Argo"; the independent hit "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; the slave-revenge narrative "Django Unchained"; the musical "Les Miserables"; the shipwreck story "Life of Pi"; the lost-souls romance "Silver Linings Playbook"; and the Osama bin Laden manhunt chronicle "Zero Dark Thirty."
Chronicling Abraham Lincoln's final months as he engineers passage of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, "Lincoln" stars best-actor contender Day-Lewis in a monumental performance as the 16th president, supporting-actress nominee Field as the notoriously headstrong Mary Todd Lincoln and supporting-actor prospect Jones as abolitionist firebrand Thaddeus Stevens.
Joining Day-Lewis in the best-actor field are Bradley Cooper as a psychiatric patient trying to get his life back together in "Silver Linings Playbook"; Hugh Jackman as Victor Hugo's tragic hero Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables"; Joaquin Phoenix as a Navy vet who falls in with a cult in "The Master"; and Denzel Washington as a boozy airline pilot in "Flight."
Nominated for best actress are Jessica Chastain as a CIA operative hunting bin Laden in "Zero Dark Thirty"; Jennifer Lawrence as a troubled young widow struggling to heal in "Silver Linings Playbook"; Emmanuelle Riva as an ailing woman tended by her husband in "Amour"; Quvenzhane Wallis as a spirited girl on the Louisiana delta in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; and Naomi Watts as a mother caught up in a devastating tsunami in "The Impossible."
Along with Field, supporting-actress nominees are Amy Adams as a cult leader's devoted wife in "The Master"; Anne Hathaway as an outcast mother reduced to prostitution in "Les Miserables"; Helen Hunt as a sex surrogate in "The Sessions"; and Jacki Weaver as an unstable man's doting mom in "Silver Linings Playbook."
Besides Jones, the supporting-actor contenders are Alan Arkin as a wily Hollywood producer in "Argo"; Robert De Niro as a football-obsessed patriarch in "Silver Linings Playbook"; Philip Seymour Hoffman as a dynamic cult leader in "The Master"; and Christoph Waltz as a genteel bounty hunter in "Django Unchained."
The Oscars feature a best-picture field that ranges from five to 10 films depending on a complex formula of ballots from the 5,856 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Winners for the 85th Oscars will be announced Feb. 24 at a ceremony aired live on ABC from Hollywood's Dolby Theatre.
"Family Guy" creator and vocal star Seth MacFarlane — a versatile performer whose work includes directing and voicing for the title character of last summer's hit "Ted" and a Frank Sinatra-style album of standards — is the Oscar host.
Thursday's nominees will be announced at 8:40 a.m. EST by "The Amazing Spider-Man" star Emma Stone and MacFarlane, the first time that an Oscar show host has joined in the preliminary announcement since 1972, when Charlton Heston participated on nominations day.