Gael García Bernal’s film “No” received a Oscar nod for Best Foreign Film on Thursday in what will be the only chance for a Latin American film to bring home an Oscar.
Directed by Pablo Larrain, the Chilean movie is set during Augusto Pinochet’s regime and delves into the life of advertising executive René Saavedra, who through a clever campaign is able to dethrone the dictator and his government.
Ben Affleck’s who directed and plays the lead role of Latino CIA Agent Antonio “Tony” Mendez in the movie “Argo” received a nomination for best score, best supporting actor (Alan Arkin), best adapted screenplay (Chris Terrio) and best picture.
“Argo” is the story of the incredible rescue by Mendez of six Americans hiding out in the Canadian embassy during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis and attack on the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Also among the nine nominees for best picture Thursday: the old-age love story "Amour"; 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."
The Civil War saga "Lincoln" lead the Academy Awards with 12 nominations, including best picture, director for Steven Spielberg and acting honors for Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones.
"Life of Pi" surprisingly ran second with 11 nominations, ahead of "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Les Miserables," which had been considered potential front-runners.
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 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."
Javier Bardem was also snubbed from receiving a nomination in the best supporting actor category for his villainous role in the James Bond adventure “Skyfall.”
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 manage three acting nominations for Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Two-time winner Spielberg earned his seventh directing nomination, and also in the mix are 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: Michael Haneke for his French-language "Amour" and Benh Zeitlin for "Beasts of the Southern Wild."
"Amour" also was a best-picture surprise. The film, 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 Emmanuelle Riva.
The year's second-biggest box-office hit, "The Dark Knight Rises," was shut out entirely, even for visual effects. The omission of its predecessor, "The Dark Knight," from best-picture consideration 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.
Chronicling Abraham Lincoln's final months as he engineers passage of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, "Lincoln" stars best-actor contender Day-Lewis in a monumental performance as the 16th president, supporting-actress nominee Field as the notoriously headstrong Mary Todd Lincoln and supporting-actor prospect Jones as abolitionist firebrand Thaddeus Stevens.
Winners for the 85th Oscars will be announced Feb. 24 at a ceremony aired live on ABC from Hollywood's Dolby Theatre.
This report contains material by the Associated Press