BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Steven Spielberg had a great day at the Academy Awards nominations, where his Civil War saga "Lincoln" led with 12 nominations.

It was not so great for Kathryn Bigelow, Tom Hooper and Ben Affleck, whose films did well but surprised – dare we say shocked? – Hollywood by failing to score directing nominations for the three filmmakers.

"I just think they made a mistake," said Alan Arkin, a supporting-actor nominee for Affleck's Iran hostage-crisis tale "Argo."

"Lincoln," "Argo," Bigelow's Osama bin Laden manhunt thriller and Hooper's Victor Hugo musical "Les Miserables" landed among the nine best-picture contenders Thursday.

Also nominated for the top honor were the old-age love story "Amour"; the independent hit "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; the slave-revenge narrative "Django Unchained"; the shipwreck story "Life of Pi"; and the lost-souls romance "Silver Linings Playbook."

A mostly predictable bunch. But it's baffling how Bigelow – the first woman to earn the directing Oscar for her 2009 best-picture winner "The Hurt Locker" – missed out on a nomination for one of last year's most-acclaimed films.

"Yes, it was a surprise," Spielberg said of Bigelow. "But I've been surprised myself through the years, so I know what it feels like."

Spielberg was snubbed for a directing slot on 1985's "The Color Purple," which earned 11 nominations, including best picture. He also was overlooked for director on 1975's "Jaws," another best-picture nominee.

"I never question the choices the academy branches make, because I've been in the same place that Kathryn and Ben find themselves today," said Spielberg, who finally got his Oscar respect in the 1990s with best-picture and director wins for "Schindler's List" and another directing trophy for "Saving Private Ryan." "I'm grateful if I'm nominated, and I've never felt anything other than gratitude even when I'm not – gratitude for at least having been able to make the movie. So I never question the choices."

Especially this time, when "Lincoln" has positioned itself as the film to beat at the Feb. 24 Oscars. Its nominations include best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis for his monumental performance as Abraham Lincoln, supporting actress for Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln and supporting actor for Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist firebrand Thaddeus Stevens.

Oscar directing contenders usually are identical or at least line up closely with those for the Directors Guild of America Awards. But only Spielberg and "Life of Pi" director Ang Lee made both lists this time.

The Directors Guild also nominated Affleck, Bigelow and Hooper, but the Oscars handed its other three slots to David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook" and two real longshots: veteran Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke for "Amour" and newcomer Benh Zeitlin, who made his feature debut with "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

Zeitlin, whose low-budget, dream-like film about a wild child in Louisiana's flooded backwoods won the top honor at last year's Sundance Film Festival, said he never expected to be competing "alongside the greatest filmmakers alive."

"I'm completely freaking out," Zeitlin said. "Those guys taught me how to make films. The VHS pile that was on the VCR when I was born was past Spielberg movies, and that's why I started wanting to do this, was watching them thousands and thousands of times."

Other nominees were caught off guard over how the category shook out.

"I would be lying if I didn't say I was surprised," Russell, a past nominee for "The Fighter," said about Bigelow.

Lee, who won the directing Oscar for "Brokeback Mountain," agreed that there were surprises – but pleasant ones, particularly for Zeitlin's inclusion.

"Newcomers, veterans, a European," Lee said. "It's great company, and it's an honor to line up with them, and encouraging because there is a newcomer."

Colleagues of snubbed filmmakers were not so happy.

"That put a damper on my enthusiasm," "Argo" co-star Arkin said of Affleck, an A-lister who's arguably proving himself a better director than actor. "I thought his work was the work of an old master, not somebody with just two films under his belt. I thought it was an extraordinary piece of directing."

"I would have loved him to have been recognized in this," Hugh Jackman, a best-actor nominee as Hugo's tragic hero Jean Valjean for "Les Miserables," said of director Hooper. "But no one will be able to take away the achievement, nor really that the eight nominations that `Les Miz' has are more shared with him than with anyone."

Composer Alexandre Desplat, who wrote the music for "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Argo" and earned a best-score nomination for the latter, said he was puzzled over Affleck and Bigelow's exclusion.

"I think they both deserved to be nominated," Desplat said. "Unfortunately, I don't decide."

"Zero Dark Thirty" has had backlash in Washington, where some lawmakers say it falsely suggests that torture produced a tip that led the U.S. military to Bin Laden. It's hard to imagine that affecting the film's Oscar nominations, though, given Hollywood's history of playing loose with facts in depicting true-life stories.

The academy's directing snubs virtually take "Argo," "Les Miserables" and "Zero Dark Thirty" out of the best-picture race, since a movie almost never wins the top prize if the filmmaker is not nominated. It can happen – 1989's "Driving Miss Daisy" did it – but a directing nomination usually goes hand-in-hand with a best-picture win.

The nominations held other surprises. "Amour" won the top prize at last May's Cannes Film Festival but mainly was considered a favorite for the foreign-language Oscar. It wound up with five nominations, the same number as "Zero Dark Thirty," which came in with expectations of emerging as a top contender.

Along with best-picture, director and foreign-language film, "Amour" picked up nominations for Haneke's screenplay and best actress for Emmanuelle Riva as an ailing, elderly woman tended by her husband.

"It's the last stage of my life, so this nomination is a gift to me, a dream I could never had imagined," Riva said. "Michael's talent is to make the film real. ... That's why it touched the world. We are all little, fragile people on this earth, sometimes nasty, sometimes generous."

Riva is part of a multi-generational spread: At 85, Riva is the oldest best-actress nominee ever, while 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis is the youngest ever for her role as the spirited bayou girl in "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

Spielberg matched his personal Oscar best as "Lincoln" tied the 12 nominations that "Schindler's List" received.

Two of Spielberg's stars could join the Oscar super-elite. Both Day-Lewis and Field have won two Oscars already. A third would put them in rare company with previous triple winners Ingrid Bergman, Walter Brennan, Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep. Katharine Hepburn holds the record with four acting Oscars.

A best-picture win would be Spielberg's second, while another directing win would be his third, a feat achieved only by Frank Capra and William Wyler, who each earned three directing Oscars, and John Ford, who received four.

"Lincoln" also was the ninth best-picture nominee Spielberg has directed, moving him into a tie for second-place with Ford. Only Wyler directed more best-picture nominees, with 13.

"I think Steven is a full-fledged genius. I think he has transformed the motion-picture industry more than once, and he's constantly pushing the envelope and changing," Field said. "He stands alone. And he has the most profound respect, and he's a scholar of John Ford and William Wyler and many others. ... He's a scholar of all of this because he's so endlessly curious."

___

AP entertainment writers Christy Lemire, Sandy Cohen, Anthony McCartney and Derrik Lang in Los Angeles and AP writers Jill Lawless in London and Thomas Adamson in Paris contributed to this report.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Best Picture

    "Argo"

  • Best Picture

    "Lincoln"

  • Best Picture

    "Amour"

  • Best Picture

    "Zero Dark Thirty"

  • Best Picture

    "Silver Linings Playbook"

  • Best Picture

    "Les Miserables"

  • Best Picture

    "Life of Pi"

  • Best Picture

    "Django Unchained"

  • Best Picture

    "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

  • Best Actor

    Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"

  • Best Actor

    Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"

  • Best Actor

    Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"

  • Best Actor

    Denzel Washington, "Flight"

  • Best Actor

    Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"

  • Best Actress

    Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"

  • Best Actress

    Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"

  • Best Actress

    Naomi Watts, "The Impossible"

  • Best Actress

    Quvenzhane Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

  • Best Actress

    Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Notebook"

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Alan Arkin, "Argo"

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"

  • Best Supporting Actress

    Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"

  • Best Supporting Actress

    Sally Field, "Lincoln"

  • Best Supporting Actress

    Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"

  • Best Supporting Actress

    Amy Adams, "The Master"

  • Best Supporting Actress

    Jacki Weaver, "Silver Linings Playbook"

  • Best Director

    Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"

  • Best Director

    David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook"

  • Best Director

    Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"

  • Best Director

    Michael Haneke, "Amour"

  • Best Director

    Behn Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

  • Best Animated Feature Film

    "Brave"

  • Best Animated Feature Film

    "Frankenweenie"

  • Best Animated Feature Film

    "ParaNorman"

  • Best Animated Feature Film

    "The Pirates! Band of Misfits"

  • Best Animated Feature Film

    "Wreck-It Ralph"



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That's all from the Oscars 2013 live blog here at HuffPost Entertainment! Hope you enjoyed the show. This is Christopher Rosen, signing off.

oscars 2013

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From backstage at the Oscars:

When did you feel a tipping point in your favor for this film?

Clooney: Michelle Obama.

Ben: When they gave us the trophies I was confident that we would win. I don’t get too much into the Oscar-ology and the pontificating. It doesn’t help me to read up on that stuff.

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Backstage at the Oscars with Daniel Day-Lewis:

Was it uncomfortable wearing the beard?

What do you mean? No it's just a beard. Do you wear your hair? It was my very own beard.

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From HuffPost Los Angeles correspondent Sasha Bronner:

"A bad word. That starts with F."

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ben affleck

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Here's Awards Daily blogger Sasha Stone just after "Argo" won Best Picture.

@ AwardsDaily : See, I told you Argo was Crash incarnate. Won the same amount of awards even.

Here's Sasha Stone on "Argo" back in October:

Have you ever seen a movie where you walk out saying, “That was just a great f--king movie”? That’s Ben Affleck’s Argo. Inexplicably, a film that draws its strength from humor and suspense, winds up being more moving the second time through. Perhaps because once you have been through the suspense part of it you get to know the characters better and therefore care about their outcomes more.

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@ LouLumenick : Affleck: Oscar winner to laughingstock to Oscar winner. You can't make these things up.

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@ m1keh0gan : Tommy Lee Jones told me Seth MacFarlane was "hilarious." His favorite part? "I Saw Your Boobs." #notkidding

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“It’s a strange thing, because three years ago, before we decided to do a straight swap, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher, um...” he joked. “And Meryl was, was Steven’s first choice for ‘Lincoln.’ And I’d like to see that version. And Steven didn’t have to persuade me to play Lincoln, but I had to persuade him that, perhaps, if I was going to do it, that Lincoln shouldn’t be a musical.”

More on Daniel Day-Lewis' Oscar speech here.

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The 85th annual Oscars gave audiences plenty to talk about -- from host Seth MacFarlane's "rejected"-but-still-definitely-included "We Saw Your Boobs" number to William Shatner's comment that the Academy should have asked Amy Poehler and Tina Fey to host. (Are they really hosting next year? Don't play with our emotions that way.)

More here from HuffPost Women.

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Need to make sense of the Oscars? We've got you covered. From the WHOA to the EEK to the OH NO!, we've rounded up the night's brightest highlights. Because nobody should be the odd man out at the water cooler.

Seth MacFarlane opened the night with a Tommy Lee Jones joke (remember Mr Grumpy Cat?). "The quest to make Tommy Lee Jones laugh starts now," quipped the host. So ...

Jennifer Lawrence gifs

Look at Oscar night in GIFs by clicking here.

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The 85th annual Academy Awards took a moment Sunday evening to honor a number of late Hollywood greats. The memoriam nodded to an extraordinary group, including Nora Ephron and Richard Zanuck. However, one actor was noticeably absent from the list.

Andy Griffith wasn't mentioned in the Oscars' In Memoriam segment. More here.

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@ brooksbarnesNYT : Reporter to Jennifer Lawrence, "Are you worried about peaking too soon?" She makes a face and pauses. "Well, now I am!"

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From HuffPost Women:

We learned a few things: Seth MacFarlane likes boobs. Seth MacFarlane thinks eating disorders are funny. And Seth MacFarlane's one-liners would make the worst pick-up lines ever.

More here on Seth MacFarlane's Oscar night.

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Pretty great. David Rothschild, who spearheaded our Oscars Prediction Dashboard weighs in:

This is a spectacular result … The Oscars are always billed as “unpredictable” and that is especially true down the line for the more obscure categories … 19 out of 24 correct is a testament to scientific predictions

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More on the Oscars tie that occurred in the Best Sound Editing category:

Although it is rare, Oscars ties have happened before.

In 1932, Frederic March won the Best Actor award for "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and tied with Wallace Beery for "The Champ" because Beery only beat him by one single vote, Slate notes. The rules allowed for a one vote difference to be called a tie back then, while today it must be the exact same.

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Relive the most awkward moment of Jennifer Lawrence's life:

jennifer lawrence falls oscars

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More on Michelle Obama's Oscar appearance:

"[These films] taught us that love can beat all odds," Obama said. "They reminded us that we can overcome any obstacle if we dig deep enough and fight hard enough and find the courage within ourselves."

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The 2013 Oscars are over. "Life of PI" led with four wins, including Best Director for Ang Lee. "Argo" and "Les Miserables" had three wins. "Django Unchained" and "Lincoln" earned two.

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@ kateyrich : Poor Bradley Cooper, knowing they pre-wrote a musical number about how he's a loser.

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Seth MacFarlane and Kristen Chenoweth sing a song about the losers at the Oscars. Surely this will go over well in the room.

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"Argo," Ang Lee, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Christoph Waltz and Anne Hathaway were 2013 Oscar winners. Here's the full list.

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Affleck, who was snubbed for Best Director, gives a long but thoughtful acceptance speech. More on the historic "Argo" Oscar win here:

The 2013 Academy Award for Best Picture was awarded to Hollywood's favorite film: "Argo." Oscar looked good in Ben Affleck's hand, especially as the star was notably snubbed in the Best Directing category.

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He thanks Ben Affleck, who directed a "helluva film." He then introduces Affleck.

"Thank you very, very much." Affleck acknowledges Steven Spielberg and the other films.

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Michelle Obama announces "Argo" as Best Picture.

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Jack knows better than to mess with Michelle Obama.

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@ HuffPostMedia : Well, this is a surprise!

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SURPRISE!

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No sunglasses.

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