In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Asa Butterfield portrays...

In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Asa Butterfield portrays Hugo Cabret in a scene from "Hugo." The film was nominated Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, for an Oscar for best film. Credit: AP

Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" surged to the top of the Oscar pack Tuesday with 11 nominations, adding another question mark to this year's already wide-open awards race.

"Hugo," a 3-D children's film, outpaced presumed front-runners like the acclaimed silent film "The Artist," which earned 10 nominations, and "The Descendants," which received five.

All three films landed in the coveted best picture Oscar category when the nominations were announced by the actress Jennifer Lawrence and Tom Sherak, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Tuesday morning in Los Angeles. But now their competition includes dark horses like the sports movie "Moneyball" and the 9/11-themed drama "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," which also earned Max Von Sydow a nomination for supporting actor. Steven Spielberg's "War Horse," which earned an impressive six nods, is also in that race.

Other surprises included leading actor nods for Gary Oldman in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and for Damian Bechir in "A Better Life," an immigrant drama that relatively few people have seen. In the leading actress category, fledgling star Rooney Mara ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") will go up against Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady") and Michelle Williams ("My Week With Marilyn") who both recently won Golden Globes for their performances. Streep's Oscar nomination marks her 17th, another record for the actress.

As many expected, Melissa McCarthy earned a supporting actress nomination for her rauncy role in "Bridesmaids," whose screenplay, co-written by Kristen Wiig, also received a nod. In the supporting actor category, the comedian Jonah Hill was nominated for his dramatic turn in "Moneyball," and Nick Nolte earned a nod as a recovering alcoholic in "Warrior," a drama from the Huntington-raised filmmaker Gavin O'Connor.

The most notable shutouts were the Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle "J. Edgar" and Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin," a motion-capture extravaganza which was overlooked in the animated feature category in favor of the obscure foreign films "A Cat in Paris," from Algeria, and "Chico & Rita," from Ireland. In the foreign-language category, Angelina Jolie's Bosnian war drama "In the Land of Blood and Honey" was overlooked in favor of films from Belgium, Israel, Iran and Canada.

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