Steven Spielberg's critically acclaimed "Lincoln" cemented its place as the Oscar front-runner when nominations were announced Thursday.
"Lincoln" earned 12 nominations, including for Daniel Day-Lewis as best actor. Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" picked up 11 nods, including for best director, though many were in technical categories. David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook," with eight nods, earned Bradley Cooper a surprise spot in the best actor category. He's up against another unexpected contender, Joaquin Phoenix, who played a troubled war veteran in "The Master." Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" fared well for an action film, earning five nods, including best picture.
The biggest surprises came from the indie film "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and the Austrian drama "Amour," both nominated for best picture, director and leading actress. In the latter category, 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis of "Beasts," a first-time actress, and 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva of "Amour," are the youngest and oldest ever nominated.
"Zero Dark Thirty," despite widespread acclaim and many awards, picked up only five nods, including best picture and best actress (Jessica Chastain). Director Kathryn Bigelow was not nominated. Other notable omissions included Ben Affleck, director of best-picture contender "Argo," and John Hawkes, widely praised as a paralyzed poet in "The Sessions," left out of the best actor race.
On a local note, documentarian Cynthia Wade was nominated for her short, "Mondays at Racine," about an Islip salon that serves women with cancer.