- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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 Miserables” 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.

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 his wife Mary Todd Lincoln and Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist firebrand Thaddeus Stevens.

The best picture nominees are “Lincoln,” “Les Miserables,” “Life of Pi,” “Argo” and Osama bin Laden thriller “Zero Dark Thirty.”

“Les Miserables” is also a contender in the separate category of best 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 director of “Argo” and as its leading actor. The other male acting contenders are Day-Lewis, Bradley Cooper for “Silver Linings Playbook,” Hugh Jackman for “Les Miserables” and Joaquin Phoenix for “The Master.”

The enigmatic Phoenix said he was “uncomfortably honored” by the nomination.

“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.

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