Ang Lee (李安) already has Oscars for Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but the Taiwanese director said he was overwhelmed by the wealth of nominations accorded his acclaimed fable Life of Pi on Thursday.
“I am deeply honored, and frankly a little overwhelmed, by all of the nominations that Life of Pi has received this morning,” Lee said in a statement shortly after the fantasy shipwreck film received 11 Oscar nods, including one for best picture and best director.
“So many talented people gave everything they had to this film ... and to see all of them receive this kind of recognition is something I am incredibly grateful for,” Lee added.
As the Life of Pi was shot at Greater Taichung’s Shuinan Airport (水湳機場) in Taiwan, Greater Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) said yesterday that he hoped the film would carry home a few Oscars.
“The city has faith in Lee and hopes that he will be able to mention Taiwan and Taichung if the film wins any awards at the Oscars, to better shed light on our city,” Hu said.
Across Hollywood, reactions from other nominees poured in after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ announcement of who would vie for the film world’s highest honors, to be handed out on Feb. 24.
Steven Spielberg’s taut political drama Lincoln led the nominations, with 12 nods.
Meanwhile, Silver Linings Playbook became the first film since 1981 to win nominations in all four acting categories, plus best film, best director and best writer, the academy said.
James Bond blockbuster Skyfall won a rare five nominations for the 007 franchise, albeit none in the major categories, but including for Grammy-winning songstress Adele, shortlisted for best song for the theme tune.
Spielberg, whose latest film recounts Abraham Lincoln’s scheming to secure votes in the US Congress to abolish slavery, said he was woken by his publicist after the predawn announcement in Beverly Hills.
“It’s the best wake up call I’ve had in 14 years. I’m always surprised by recognition ... I’m deeply grateful,” said the veteran director, as cited by the Hollywood Reporter.
Lincoln star Daniel Day-Lewis was nominated for best actor, as expected, against Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables, Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook, Joaquin Phoenix for The Master and Denzel Washington for Flight.
Best actress nominees are Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty, Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook, Emmanuelle Riva for Amour, Naomi Watts for The Impossible and Quvenzhane Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Both Lincoln and Life of Pi are nominated for the coveted best film prize, along with Silver Linings Playbook and the musical Les Miserables, which each earned eight nods, and Iran hostage drama Argo, with seven.
Amid the expected celebrations, there were some surprising snubs.
While Argo and Osama bin Laden manhunt film Zero Dark Thirty were each nominated for best picture, Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow — widely seen as shoo-ins for best director — failed to secure nods in the category.
The best supporting actor race features five Oscar winners, while in the best actress race, the oldest-ever nominee, 85-year-old Frenchwoman Riva, will face off against the youngest, nine-year-old Wallis.
Beyond best film, Lincoln earned nods for best director for Spielberg and best supporting actor for Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens.
The film — about the 16th US president’s drive to abolish slavery during the US Civil War — had already picked up most nods for the Golden Globes, competing in seven categories in the show this weekend.
Additional reporting by Staff reporter