US presidential drama Lincoln led the pack of Oscar nominees with 12 nominations including a nod for best picture, in the race for the world's top film honours.
Joining Lincoln on Thursday in the competition for the best movie Oscar were eight films - shipwreck tale Life of Pi with 11 nods, musical Les Miserables, Iran hostage drama Argo, French language drama Amour, Osama bin Laden thriller Zero Dark Thirty, comedy Silver Linings Playbook, Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, and mythological film Beasts of the Southern Wild.
The Oscars are given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and this year's winners will be named at a ceremony in Hollywood on February 24.
Best acting nominations went to Daniel Day-Lewis for his performance as Abraham Lincoln, Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables, Jessica Chastain for her role as a CIA agent in Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence for playing a young widow in Silver Linings Playbook.
In a list with few major surprises, Lincoln also picked up nods for director Steven Spielberg, and supporting actors Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones, as well as best adapted screenplay and costumes.
The James Bond film Skyfall won five nominations, including best original song and cinematography, but the British secret agent film missed out on a coveted best picture mention.
The screen adaption of musical Les Mis got eight nominations, including best supporting actress for Anne Hathaway as tragic heroine Fantine. But director Tom Hooper was left off the directing nominees, along with Ben Affleck for Argo and Tarantino for his violent slavery-era Western, Django Unchained.
Amour, a moving love story about an elderly couple, fared well with the Academy, winning best picture and best director nods for Michael Haneke, and a best lead actress mention for 85 year-old Emmanuelle Riva, who became the oldest best actress nominee in the Academy's 85-year history.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Quvenzhane Wallis, nine, became the youngest ever best actress Oscar nominee for her performance in the end of the world film Beasts of the Southern Wild, which also garnered a nod for its first time director Benh Zeitlin.
The Oscars feature a best-picture field that ranges from five to 10 films depending on a complex formula of ballots from the 5,856 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Seth MacFarlane, creator of the animated series Family Guy, is the Oscar host.