8. "DARK KNIGHT RISES" FALLS
Many critics lamented the fact that Christopher Nolan's brilliant 2008 Batman flick "The Dark Knight" was left out of the Best Picture race that year, and while last year's follow-up didn't earn the same kind of universal acclaim, "The Dark Knight Rises" was mysteriously shut out of even the technical categories on Thursday morning. No Visual Effects, Sound Editing or Original Score love for the final installment of Nolan's groundbreaking trilogy? Sounds like the work of Bane to us.
7. JOAQUIN PHOENIX BASHES OSCARS, THEN GETS NOMINATED
The major surprise in the Best Actor category was the inclusion of "The Master's" Joaquin Phoenix, who told Interview magazine in October that the concept of the Oscars was "total, utter bullshit," and "the stupidest thing in the whole world." Well, get ready to feel stupid, Joaquin, because you'll be competing against Daniel Day-Lewis, Denzel Washington, Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper! Phoenix's surprise addition came at the expense of presumed nominee John Hawkes, who was previously nominated for "Winter's Bone" but got dismissed for his work in "The Sessions" this year.
6. NO LEG UP FOR MARION COTILLARD
French actress Marion Cotillard has already won an Academy Award for her performance in 2007's "La Vie En Rose," and was expected to compete for her second trophy for her role as an amputee victim in the French drama "Rust and Bone." Despite scoring nods at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and Critics' Choice competition, Cotillard was on the outside looking in this time, with nine-year-old "Beasts of the Southern Wild" star Quvenzhané Wallis instead getting the call.
5. "THE INTOUCHABLES" IS NOT UNTOUCHABLE
Speaking of "Rust and Bone," the film was not submitted for Best Foreign Language consideration because the French dramedy "The Intouchables" was chosen to represent the country this year... and then got passed over in favor of lesser-known fare from Canada, Norway and Chile. "The Intouchables" has been immensely popular in its native country, and while it likely would be staring up at Michael Haneke's Best Picture-nominated "Amour" in the category, its total omission remains glaring.
4. JACKI WEAVER FINDS THE RIGHT "PLAYBOOK"
It's been 31 years since a film secured a nomination in all four major acting categories, but David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" accomplished the feat on Thursday morning when Jacki Weaver, who plays the matriarch of the Solitano family, earned her first-ever nomination. Co-stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro were all shoo-ins in the Actor, Actress and Supporting Actor categories, respectively, but Weaver's surprise Best Supporting Actress bid has helped bolster "Playbook" as a major threat to "Lincoln's" runaway awards sweep.
2. ZERO REPEAT CHANCE FOR KATHRYN BIGELOW
After winning Best Director for "The Hurt Locker" at the 2010 ceremony, Kathryn Bigelow returned this winter with "Zero Dark Thirty," the tale of Osama bin Laden's capture that has been hailed as one of the best films of the year. Like Affleck, who has also earned nominations in nearly every other awards competition this year, Bigelow was somehow left out of the Best Director category -- which is even more surprising than the "Argo" snub given the scope of the film and the expectations with which Bigelow was saddled following her "Hurt Locker" triumph. While "Zero Dark Thirty" still has a chance to take home the main award, Bigelow's omission is bordering on indefensible.
1. 'BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD' BECOMES A CONTENDER
Who would have thought before Thursday morning that films like "Zero Dark Thirty," "Argo" and "Les Miserables" would be staring up at the tiny indie "Beasts of the Southern Wild," envious of the Academy love showered upon it? But that's the situation we have with the 85th annual Academy Awards, as the quiet fantasy/drama scored a Best Picture nod, a nod for first-time director Benh Zeitlin, and a Best Actress shot for Quvenzhané Wallis, who at nine years old becomes the youngest Best Actress contender ever. Throw in a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" has a real shot at forging an Oscar coup that no one could see coming upon its release last year. Color us surprised.