The lone newcomer is Hazanavicius for "The Artist," a critical darling that has stacked up an impressive list of honors and nominations at earlier awards since its debut last year at Cannes.
While Steven Spielberg's best-picture contender "War Horse" picked up six nominations, the Oscar-winning filmmaker missed out in the directing category, a prize he has won twice. His first cartoon feature, the Golden Globe-winning "The Adventures of Tintin," also did not make the list for best animated film.
Another animated snub was "Cars 2," the first feature-length cartoon from Disney's Pixar Animation that failed to earn a nomination since the category was added in 2001. Pixar films including "Toy Story 3," ''Up" and "WALL-E" had won the last four animation Oscars.
This time, the animated nominees are "A Cat in Paris," ''Chico & Rita," Kung Fu Panda 2," ''Puss in Boots" and "Rango."
Winners at the 84th annual Oscars will be announced at a Feb. 26 ceremony aired live on ABC from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, with Billy Crystal returning as host for the first time in eight years.
The most-beloved Oscar host of the last two decades, Crystal agreed to lead the show for the ninth time after Eddie Murphy bowed out in support of his pal, filmmaker Brett Ratner, who quit as Oscar producer amid the uproar over a gay slur he uttered in front of an audience at a screening of his and Murphy's comedy "Tower Heist."
Crystal's return could bump up the TV ratings for the show, which have been on a general decline over the last few decades.
What usually results in big TV ratings, though, is a blockbuster such as eventual Oscar champs "Titanic" or "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" in the thick of the best-picture contest. More fans tune in because they have a stake in the outcome.
There are no colossal films such as that in the mix this time. "The Help" is a solid hit, taking in $169 million domestically. So far, other best-picture nominees are well under that level, ranging from $75 million for "Moneyball" to $12 million for "The Artist."
Germain reported from Park City, Utah. AP Entertainment Writers Derrik J. Lang and Anthony McCartney contributed to this report.
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