Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

'Lincoln' Leads Oscar Field ; 'Life of Pi' a Close Second with 'Silver Linings' and 'Amour' Getting Nods

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

'Lincoln' Leads Oscar Field ; 'Life of Pi' a Close Second with 'Silver Linings' and 'Amour' Getting Nods

Article excerpt

The highest number of Oscar nominations -- including for best picture -- went to "Lincoln," followed by "Life of Pi," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Les Miserables."

Torture. Terror. Depression. Revolt. Where's Uggie the dog when you need him?

The 85th Academy Awards season jolted into place Thursday morning, as the heaviest number of major Oscar nominations -- including nods for best picture -- went to "Lincoln," about the president's struggle in the Civil War, "Silver Linings Playbook," a comedy, of sorts, about mental illness, and "Amour," a French- language film about elderly death.

Close behind were "Les Miserables," filled with songs of the oppressed, "Life of Pi," about a shipwreck survivor and a tiger, "Beasts of the Southern Wild," about a child's encounters with rising floodwaters in the South, "Zero Dark Thirty," about the murky pursuit of a national enemy, "Argo," about political captivity, and "Django Unchained," about retribution for the abuses of slavery.

But the morning's real surprise was a double-barreled snub in the best director category: Neither Kathryn Bigelow, who directed "Zero Dark Thirty," nor Quentin Tarantino, who directed "Django Unchained," were included among the five directing nominees.

Those were Steven Spielberg for "Lincoln," Ang Lee for "Life of Pi," Michael Haneke for "Amour," David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook" and Benh Zeitlin, for "Beasts of the Southern Wild." In all, nine films received best picture nominations, in a field that can include as many as ten or as few as five, depending on how voters from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences spread their hand.

The nominations were announced at the academy's headquarters in Beverly Hills in a pre-dawn ceremony that paired the actress Emma Stone with the host of this year's telecast, Seth MacFarlane. The unusual inclusion of Mr. MacFarlane, the creator of the animated "Family Guy" television show, was an effort by the academy to increase his public profile; only once before (in 1972) has a host announced nominees.

Mr. MacFarlane, who cracked a Hitler joke in noting the Austrian and other national roots of "Amour," gave a taste of the risque humor that may lie ahead for the broadcast.

"Lincoln," directed by Steven Spielberg, had gone into the morning as the picture to beat. But it barely outpaced "Life of Pi," which beat the expectations by coming up second with 11 nominations in all, even as "Zero Dark Thirty," an early favorite, fell into the pack, with just five.

Mr. Spielberg's directing nomination was his seventh, while Daniel Day-Lewis received his fifth best-actor nomination, this time for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. He has won twice. Sally Field was among the "Lincoln" nominees, as a supporting actress for playing Mary Todd Lincoln, as was Tony Kushner, for writing the film's adapted script. …

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