The 2013 Oscar nominations are here! And they sure did come with some surprises. While "Lincoln" leading the lot with 12 nominations was not one of them, here are 10 things few people saw coming with respect to this morning's big announcement:
1. The best director category. Absolutely nobody predicted the remarkable triple snub of Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Affleck and Tom Hooper (not to mention Quentin Tarantino) in the best director category. Arguably the most notable news among the entire Oscar nomination list (particuarly Bigelow and Affleck's snubs, which likely left every Oscar prognosticator in the world's mouth gaping for a good few minutes), the best director category consisted of the expected Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee, but they were joined by David O. Russell (minor surprise), Michael Haneke (minor surprise) and Benh Zeitlin (huge shocker). Not since "Driving Miss Daisy" has a film won best picture without a director nod, suggesting it's "Lincoln," "Silver Linings" or "Life of Pi" for the win?
2. A general rejection of both the DGA and SAG Awards as reliable Oscar predictors. The Directors Guild and Screen Actors Guild award nominations took a big hit in terms of their reliability at predicting the Oscar nominations. With Bigelow, Affleck and Hooper out, only two (Lee and Spielberg) got both Oscar and DGA nominations. They usually go for four for five, and only once six times in history have the winners not lined up (most recently in 2002 when Roman Polanski won the Oscar over Rob Marshall). As for the SAG Awards, only 14 of the SAG nominees got one of the 20 Oscar acting noms (the previous two years it was 17, while the year before that it was 19). Replacing the snubbed likes of John Hawkes, Marion Cotillard, Helen Mirren, Javier Bardem, Nicole Kidman and Maggie Smith (all SAG nominees) were Quvenzhané Wallis, Emmanuelle Riva, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Jacki Weaver and Christoph Waltz (over his "Django" co-star Leonardo DiCaprio). Weaver and Wallis both remarkably did so without SAG, Globe or BAFTA nominations.
3. Wallis and Riva both make the cut, this becoming the oldest and youngest best actress nominees ever. Riva and especially Wallis were not exactly sure things for the best actress category, and the idea of both of them nominated together seemed a long shot. But much to the chagrin of Marion Cotillard and Helen Mirren, this indeed ended up being the case (this Oscar prognosticator's favorite part of all of the nominations). What's more, 85-year-old Riva (who turns 86 on Oscar night!) and 9-year-old Wallis are now the oldest and youngest best actress nominees of all time (Jackie Cooper still holds the record for the youngest Oscar nominee ever at age eight).
4. "The Intouchables" snubbed in best foreign language film. Riva's "Amour" might have given French language film a huge boost with nominations for actress, picture, director, screenplay and foreign film (a truly impressive and deserved haul), pundits predicting it could actually lose the latter award to France's submission "The Intouchables" ("Amour" was submitted by Austria) are officially mistaken: It didn't even get nominated! Second to Bigelow and Affleck both being shut out, this was the morning's most shocking omission.
5. Joaquin Phoenix makes it after all… and it's John Hawkes who's out. There were six men vying for the five best actor slots, and only Daniel Day-Lewis seemed like an absolute lock. Most expected — given his SAG snub and public statements against Oscar campaigning — that Joaquin Phoenix would lose out for his work on "The Master." But he deservedly made it in, though at the unfortunate expense of John Hawkes (personally, I would have much preferred Hugh Jackman or Bradley Cooper missing out).
6. Paul Thomas Anderson, on the other hand, is completely shut out. "The Master" might have managed to get all three acting nominations it was bidding for (like Phoenix, Amy Adams was shaky for her nod but pulled it off, while Phillip Seymour Hoffman expectedly got his as well), but that was it. No production design, no cinematography, no original score (what a shame, seriously), and nothing for Paul Thomas Anderson. Though nobody really expected him to pull of a best director nomination, he was much less expectedly snubbed for best original screenplay (in favor of "Flight," which was a surprise inclusion).
7. Jacki Weaver sneaks in over Dench, Kidman, Dowd and Smith. While many folks predicted Riva, Wallis, Phoenix and Adams, the one Oscar acting nomination very few folks expected was Jacki Weaver's in the best supporting actress category despite basically no mentions whatsoever from any of the precursors. She beat out Judi Dench ("Skyfall"), Nicole Kidman ("The Paperboy"), Ann Dowd ("Compliance") and Maggie Smith ("The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"), helping give "Silver Linings Playbook" an impressive quartet of acting nominations, the first film to get noms in all four acting categories since "Reds" over 30 years ago.
8. "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" gets a best animated feature nod. The animated feature race gave us four films most were pretty sure would pop up in "Brave," "Frankenweenie," "ParaNorman" and "Wreck-It-Ralph," and then a fifth that no one saw coming: "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," the Aardman Animations film that grossed only $31 million in North America (though it did find fairly positive reviews). "Rise of the Guardians" was left out at its expense. Also of note in the animated short film race, "The Simpsons" got an Oscar nomination.
9. Seth MacFarlane, Oscar host and nominee. For co-writing the lyrics for the song "Everybody Needs a Best Friend," Seth MacFarlane becomes the first Oscar host since, well, James Franco two years ago to be nominated and to serve as host in the same year. But unless starts a serious smear campaign against Adele, it's unlikely that he's going home with a trophy.
10. All this love for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," but no nomination for best original score? Benh Zeitlin's "Beasts of the Southern Wild" did extraordinarily well this morning, taking aforementioned nods for actress and director along with both best picture and best adapted screenplay. But what gives with the best original score snub? Zeitlin beautifully co-scored the film with Dan Romer, and to me it was the film's most likely (and certainly one of its most potentially deserved) nominations. But instead, John Williams got his 48th Oscar nomination for "Lincoln." As you were…