BEVERLY HILLS, California (AP) — The Civil War saga "Lincoln" leads the Academy Awards with 12 nominations, including best picture, director for Steven Spielberg and acting honors for British-born Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones. Also among the nine nominees for best picture today: the old-age love story "Amour"; the Iran hostage thriller "Argo"; the independent hit "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; the slave-revenge narrative "Django Unchained"; the musical "Les Miserables"; the shipwreck story "Life of Pi"; the lost-souls romance "Silver Linings Playbook"; and the Osama bin Laden manhunt chronicle "Zero Dark Thirty." Oscar winners will be announced February 24. "Life of Pi" surprisingly ran second in nominations with 11, ahead of "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Les Miserables," which had both been considered potential front-runners. "It's a great surprise. I'm deeply honoured. Eleven really surprised me. But it's a good surprise. I'm very happily surprised." Ang Lee, director of "Life of Pi," said by telephone from Los Angeles. More surprising were snubs in the directing category, where three favorites missed out: Ben Affleck for "Argo" and past Oscar winners Kathryn Bigelow for "Zero Dark Thirty" and British-born Tom Hooper for "Les Miserables." Bigelow was the first woman ever the win the directing Oscar for 2009's "The Hurt Locker," while Hooper won a year later for "The King's Speech." The best-picture category also had surprising omissions. The acclaimed first-love tale "Moonrise Kingdom" was left out and only got one nomination, for original screenplay. Also snubbed for best-picture was "The Master," a critical favorite that did have three acting nominations for Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Harvey Weinstein produced two of the nine best picture nominees — "Django Unchained" and "Silver Linings Playbook" — and was naturally pleased. Two-time winner Spielberg earned his seventh directing nomination. Also in the mix are Taiwan-born past winner Ang Lee for "Life of Pi" and past nominee David O. Russell for "Silver Linings Playbook." The other slots went to surprise picks who are first-time nominees: German-born Michael Haneke for his French-language "Amour" and Benh Zeitlin for "Beasts of the Southern Wild." The Austrian film "Amour," which won the top prize at last May's Cannes Film Festival, mainly had been considered a favorite in the foreign-language category, where it also was nominated. "Amour" had five nominations, including original screenplay and best actress for French-born Emmanuelle Riva. "The other foreign-language nominees are 18th-century court saga "A Royal Affair" by Denmark's Nikolaj Arcel; child soldier drama "War Witch" by Canada's Kim Nguyen; seafaring adventure "Kon-Tiki" by Norway's Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg; and "No" by Chile's Pablo Larrain. The year's second-biggest U.S. box office hit, "The Dark Knight Rises," was shut out entirely, even for visual effects. The omission of its predecessor, "The Dark Knight," from the best-picture category for 2008, was largely responsible for the expansion of the Oscar category from five nominees to 10 the following year. "The Dark Knight" had earned eight nominations and won two Oscars.