2013 Oscar Nominations    Lincoln Leads

A giant screen shows the Oscar nominees for Best Picture at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater on January 10, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. Steven Spielberg is hoping for good news Thursday as Oscar nominees are unveiled, with his ‘Lincoln’ among frontrunners, albeit in a wide field as Hollywood’s awards season enters the home straight. The nominations for the 2013 Academy Awards were held at at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, in California for the famous golden statuettes, to be handed out on February 24. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The Civil War saga “Lincoln” leads 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.

Also among the 9 nominees for best picture Thursday: the old-age love story “Amour”; the Iran hostage thriller “Argo”; 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.”

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.

Joining Day-Lewis in the best-actor field are Bradley Cooper as a psychiatric patient trying to get his life back together in “Silver Linings Playbook”; Hugh Jackman as Victor Hugo’s tragic hero Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables”; Joaquin Phoenix as a Navy vet who falls in with a cult in “The Master”; and Denzel Washington as a boozy airline pilot in “Flight.”

Nominated for best actress are Jessica Chastain as a CIA operative hunting bin Laden in “Zero Dark Thirty”; Jennifer Lawrence as a troubled young widow struggling to heal in “Silver Linings Playbook”; Emmanuelle Riva as an ailing woman tended by her husband in “Amour”; Quvenzhane Wallis as a spirited girl on the Louisiana delta in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; and Naomi Watts as a mother caught up in a devastating tsunami in “The Impossible.”

Along with Field, supporting-actress nominees are Amy Adams as a cult leader’s devoted wife in “The Master”; Anne Hathaway as an outcast mother reduced to prostitution in “Les Miserables”; Helen Hunt as a sex surrogate in “The Sessions”; and Jacki Weaver as an unstable man’s doting mom in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

2013 Oscar Nominations    Lincoln Leads

The Oscar nominees for Best Supporting Actress are announced by Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone at the Samuel Goldwyn Theartre on January 11, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. Steven Spielberg is hoping for good news Thursday as Oscar nominees are unveiled, with his ‘Lincoln’ among frontrunners, albeit in a wide field as Hollywood’s awards season enters the home straight. The nominations for the 2013 Academy Awards were held at at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, in California for the famous golden statuettes, to be handed out on February 24. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Besides Jones, the supporting-actor contenders are Alan Arkin as a wily Hollywood producer in “Argo”; Robert De Niro as a football-obsessed patriarch in “Silver Linings Playbook”; Philip Seymour Hoffman as a dynamic cult leader in “The Master”; and Christoph Waltz as a genteel bounty hunter in “Django Unchained.”

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.

Winners for the 85th Oscars will be announced Feb. 24 at a ceremony aired live on ABC from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

“Family Guy” creator and vocal star Seth MacFarlane – a versatile performer whose work includes directing and voicing for the title character of last summer’s hit “Ted” and a Frank Sinatra-style album of standards – is the Oscar host.

Thursday’s nominees will be announced at 8:40 a.m. EST by “The Amazing Spider-Man” star Emma Stone and MacFarlane, the first time that an Oscar show host has joined in the preliminary announcement since 1972, when Charlton Heston participated on nominations day.