Oscar Nominations 2013: Snubs & Surprises!

While the Academy had no love for Ben Affleck or Kathryn Bigelow this year, 9-year old Quvenzhane Wallis from Beast of the Southern Wild has a lot to celebrate today

Emma Stone and Seth MacFarlane got up early this morning to announce the 2013 Academy Award nominees. This was an unusually competitive year for nominations, as studio blockbusters (Les Miserables) went head-to-head with indies both big (Silver Linings Playbook) and small (Beasts of the Southern Wild). So which of your favorites will be up for the Oscar in February?

Not surprisingly, Lincoln leads the pack this year with 12 nominations, including best picture, best director for Steven Spielberg, and the can't-lose nomination for Daniel Day-Lewis as best actor. Spielberg's historical drama is the perfect combination of entertainment and gravitas, delivered by some of Hollywood's heaviest heavyweights; it feels like a Very Important Film, and the Academy loves nothing better.

Which brings us to a film that's the complete opposite of Lincoln: Beasts of the Southern Wild. The low-budget fable, about a child surviving a Louisiana flood, did remarkably well in the nominations, with a best picture nod and a surprise nomination for first-time director Benh Zeitlin. Star Quvenzhane Wallis also received a best actress nomination -- and, at 9 years old, is the youngest nominee ever in this category.

In another historic Oscar moment, Emmanuelle Riva, the 85-year-old French star of Amour, is the oldest ever nominee in the best actress category. Amour was another surprise favorite this year; the drama about a woman succumbing to Alzheimer's (Riva) was a film festival sensation, but controversial German director Michael Haneke has never received Oscar recognition. This year, he's up for both best director and best picture.

Les Miserables, a smash with audiences that received mixed reviews from critics, is also up for best picture, as well as best actor (Hugh Jackman) and best supporting actress (Anne Hathaway, a safe bet for the win). Surprisingly, director Tom Hooper -- a previous winner for The King's Speech -- was overlooked.

And he wasn't the only Oscar winner who was snubbed for best director. Kathryn Bigelow, the first-ever female best director winner for The Hurt Locker (2008), was not recognized for her acclaimed thriller Zero Dark Thirty. Thankfully, talented lead actress Jessica Chastain received a nomination. (The film is also up for best picture.)

Another best director contender who didn't make the cut? Ben Affleck, who seemed like a sure thing. His based-on-a-true-story spy thriller Argo received a best picture nomination, but Affleck was denied recognition for his stunning directorial work.

One more movie worth mentioning is best picture nominee Silver Linings Playbook, the quirky David O. Russell comedy starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Despite its low-key nature, the movie is the first in more than 30 years to receive nominations in all four acting categories: best actor for Cooper, best actress for Lawrence, best supporting actor for Robert DeNiro, and -- in one of the morning's biggest surprises -- Jacki Weaver for best supporting actress. 

The 85th Academy Awards, hosted by MacFarlane, will be broadcast live on ABC on February 24th. Click here to see the full list of nominees.

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