BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — 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."