LONDON (AP) -- Historical biopic "Lincoln" leads the race for the British Academy Film Awards, with 10 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor -- but nothing for director Steven Spielberg.
Epic musical "Les Misérables" and boy-meets-tiger saga "Life of Pi" received nine nominations each Wednesday for Britain's equivalent of the Oscars. James Bond adventure "Skyfall" got eight -- rare awards recognition for an action movie -- and Iran hostage thriller "Argo" took seven.
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"Lincoln" is also tipped for a clutch of nominations when Hollywood's Academy Awards finalists are announced Thursday. The critically praised film focuses on the last months in the life of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, as he struggled to end the Civil War and pass a constitutional amendment banning slavery.
Britain's Daniel Day-Lewis is nominated for leading actor for his uncanny embodiment of the iconic president, and there are supporting nominations for Sally Field as Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist firebrand Thaddeus Stevens.
The Best Film nominees are "Lincoln," ''Les Misérables," ''Life of Pi," ''Argo" and the Osama bin Laden thriller "Zero Dark Thirty."
"Les Misérables" is also a contender in the separate category of Outstanding British film, alongside "Anna Karenina," ''The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," ''Seven Psychopaths" and "Skyfall."
"Les Mis" producer Tim Bevan said he was pleased with the movie's nine nominations, but surprised director Tom Hooper didn't make the shortlist.
"Steven Spielberg wasn't nominated for best director for 'Lincoln,' which tops the list, so it just goes to show how wide open it is this year," he said.
Hooper, who made Oscar-winner "The King's Speech," said he was thrilled for Jackman and Supporting Actress nominee Anne Hathaway -- and not too upset about being overlooked.
"I am definitely disappointed, but I am consoled that Steven Spielberg woke up to the same news this morning. I feel like I'm in good company if I'm with him," Hooper said.
Ben Affleck is nominated both as Best Director of "Argo" and as Leading Actor. The other male acting contenders are Day-Lewis, Bradley Cooper for "Silver Linings Playbook," Hugh Jackman for "Les Misérables" and Joaquin Phoenix for "The Master."
"Skyfall" star Daniel Craig was snubbed, but the film received supporting acting nominations for Judi Dench's spy chief and Javier Bardem's scene-stealing baddie.
The Best Actress shortlist includes 85-year-old "Amour" star Emmanuelle Riva -- who was nominated for the same prize 52 years ago for "Hiroshima, Mon Amour" -- Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook," Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty," Marion Cotillard for "Rust and Bone" and Helen Mirren for "Hitchcock."
Mirren said it had been wonderful to play Hitchcock's wife in Sacha Gervasi's film.
"Alma Reville was more than Hitchcock's wife; in many ways she was his muse, his assistant, his editor and more, and I am proud to have had the opportunity to portray her," Mirren said.
Besides Affleck, the heavyweight Best Director list includes, Michael Haneke for Cannes Film Festival prize-winner "Amour," Quentin Tarantino for "Django Unchained," Ang Lee for "Life of Pi" and Kathryn Bigelow for "Zero Dark Thirty."
Poignant old-age portrait "Amour" is up for best foreign-language film, along with Norway's "Headhunters," Denmark's "The Hunt" and French films "Rust and Bone" and "The Intouchables."
In recent years, the British awards, known as BAFTAs, have helped underdog films including "Slumdog Millionaire," ''The King's Speech" and "The Artist" gain momentum for Oscars success.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on Feb. 10, two weeks before the Hollywood awards.
This would have been the year to nominate Daniel Craig. Skyfall lives up to the hype because Bond in Craig's hands is the most 3-D he's ever been since Connery. More so, in fact as you could see. Furthermore, even though it's a bit early for a "lifetime achievement award," this would be a nod to Craig's work in "Road to Perdition," "Defiance," and "Girl With A Dragon Tattoo" among others. What other work could have just missed breaking the tape for Craig to get through? Still researching...Yes. Ben Affleck in Argo. Yes, I enjoyed the film as a while, but comparing the performances and what the stories required of them, I think Daniel Craig comes out ahead. Too bad the Academy dropped the ball.
Come to think of it, there IS a lifetime achievement award in order here: Bond's 50th.
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