3D animated film Hugo has bucked this year’s awards trend after receiving 11 Oscar nominations, one more than hotly tipped The Artist.
Three other films managed more than four nods – sports movie Moneyball and First World War set War Horse got six, while family drama The Descendants managed five.
All four movies will contest the best picture category, along with Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, The Help, Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life and War Horse.
Hugo garnered a best director nomination for 2007 winner Martin Scorsese, with cinematography and writing also among the categories in which it was recognised.
The Artist, which pays homage to Hollywood’s silent era and has already triumphed at the Golden Globes, drew nominations for both its director Michel Hazanavicius and lead actor Jean Dujardin.
Dujardin is up against Demián Bichir for A Better Life, George Clooney for The Descendants, Brad Pitt for Moneyball and Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Oldman’s fellow Brit Kenneth Branagh is nominated in the supporting actor category for his role as Laurence Olivier but Olivia Colman – acclaimed in 2011 for her performances in both Tyrannosaur and The Iron Lady, but overlooked at the Golden Globes and in Bafta’s nominations – again misses out.
Fellow Iron Lady star Meryl Streep, however, earns a 17th lifetime nomination, this year in the best actress category for her turn as British PM Margaret Thatcher, up against Rooney Mara – a surprise nomination for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Glenn Close, Viola Davis and Michelle Williams.
Directors Scorsese and Hazanavicius, meanwhile, take on Alexander Payne for The Descendants, Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris and Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life, although War Horse director Steven Spielberg misses out.
The 84th Academy Awards take place on 26 February at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
See the full list of 2012 Oscars nominees here