Do not doubt Lincoln's poll numbers.
Steven Spielberg's long-presumed Academy Awards favorite picked up 12 nominations Thursday, the most of any film. Ang Lees Life of Pi was right behind, with 11. Les Misérables and Silver Linings Playbook earned eight each.
Lincoln will face Life of Pi, Les Mis and Silver Linings Playbook in Best Picture, a category that ran nine movies deep and also included Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, Django Unchained, the French-langauge Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild. As many as 10 movies could have been nominated for the top prize.
Lincoln, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild seemingly go to the front of the Best Picture class, as each recorded an accompanying Best Director nomination for Spielberg, Lee, David O. Russell, Michael Haneke and indie-wonder Benh Zeitlin, respectively. Amour, which will also compete for Foreign Language Film, is the fifth film to compete for those two film prizes.
In the acting categories, Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Denzel Washington (Flight), Hugh Jackman (Les Mis), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) and Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) are up for Best Actor.
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) and Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) are believed to be the nominees to beat in Best Actress. Also vying for the award: Naomi Watts (The Impossible), 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), the oldest Best Actress hopeful ever, and 9-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild), the youngest.
Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook), Alan Arkin (Argo) and Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), each a previous Oscar winner, were nominated for Best Supporting Actor.
Anne Hathaway (Les Mis), Sally Field (Lincoln), Helen Hunt (The Sessions) and Amy Adams (The Master) took their expected berths in Best Supporting Actress. Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) was the fifth and somewhat-surprising final nominee.
Life of Pi was the only Best Picture nominee to fail to secure an acting nod for any of its stars.
The Animated Feature category was comprised of Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits and Wreck-It Ralph.
Though denied a shot at Best Director, Ben Affleck will compete for his first Oscar since Good Will Hunting for producing the Best Picture-nominated Argo. One of his fellow nominees: George Clooney, who also produced the hit Iranian-hostage thriller. (The nod puts Clooney in some rare company: he is the only person not named Warren Beatty to have wracked up Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Screenplay. Clooney, of course, already owns a Best Supporting Actor statuette for Syriana.)
Another Best Director no-show, Quentin Tarantino, was nominated for Original Screenplay for Django Unchained. Of all the Best Picture nominees, only Les Mis failed to net either an Original or Adapted Screenplay nomination.
Skyfall was the most-nominated genre movie, picking up five nods, including an Original Song nomination for Adele's title track.
Composer John Williams earned his 48th career nomination, the most of any living person, for his Original Score for Lincoln.
The 85th Annual Academy Awards are set for Feb. 24. Seth MacFarlane, who helped announce the nominations, and picked up an Original Song nod for his contribution to Ted, is the host.
(Originally published on Jan. 10, 2013 at 5:53 a.m. PT.)