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Ang Lee claws in 11 Oscar nominations

LOS ANGELES -- Steven Spielberg's taut political drama “Lincoln,” about the 16th U.S. president's drive to abolish slavery during the American Civil War, is in the driver's seat for the Oscars with 12 nominations.

Taiwan-born Ang Lee's visually stunning 3D adventure “Life of Pi,” based on the novel by Yann Martel, earned 11 nominations from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, ahead of the Oscars ceremony on Feb. 24.

Both movies are nominated for the coveted best film prize, along with dark comedy “Silver Linings Playbook” and musical “Les Miserables,” which each earned eight nominations, and Iran hostage drama “Argo” with seven.

The Oscars nominations list, presented Thursday in the pre-dawn hours in Tinseltown, included a few surprises.

While “Argo” and Osama bin Laden manhunt “Zero Dark Thirty” were each nominated for best picture, directors Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow — widely seen as shoo-ins in their category — were snubbed.

The best supporting actor race features five Oscar winners, while in the best actress race, the oldest-ever nominee, 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva, will face off against 9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis.

Beyond best film, “Lincoln” earned nods for best director for Spielberg, best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis for his portrayal of the American president and best supporting actor for Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens.

The film had already picked up most nods for the Golden Globes, competing in seven categories in the show this weekend.

“Lincoln” has also garnered top nominations for the Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild of America and Britain's BAFTA awards, in the run-up to the Oscars announcement.

Its British-Irish star Day-Lewis will be vying to win a record third best actor Oscar, after winning the accolade in 1990 for “My Left Foot” and in 2008 for “There Will Be Blood.”

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This publicity film image released by 20th Century Fox shows Suraj Sharma in a scene from “Life of Pi,” directed by Ang Lee. (AP/AFP)

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