Oscar nod for Iron Lady Streep
Meryl Streep's turn as Margaret Thatcher has secured the actress her 17th Oscar nomination while Gary Oldman has clinched his first for his performance as a spymaster.
Streep, 62, is favourite to win best actress for her role as the former British prime minister in The Iron Lady. British actor Oldman, 53, is in the running for best actor for his role as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Silent black and white film The Artist has 10 nominations, including best film, director, actor for French star Jean Dujardin and supporting actress for Berenice Bejo. The last silent film to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars was 1928 movie The Patriot.
Only one film - Hugo, Martin Scorsese's 3D ode to early cinema - has more nominations but many of its nods are in technical categories.
Streep, who already has a record 16 nominations and last won an Oscar for 1982 movie Sophie's Choice, said: "I am honoured to be in company with such beautiful artists, and touched deeply by my fellow actors for their generosity in giving me this acknowledgement."
The actress is up against Michelle Williams for her role as screen siren Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn, Glenn Close for her turn as a woman disguised as a man in Albert Nobbs, Viola Davis for The Help, and Rooney Mara for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Oldman - whose best actor rivals are Dujardin, George Clooney for The Descendants, Brad Pitt for Moneyball and Mexican Demian Bichir for A Better Life - said: "You may have heard this before, but it has never been truer than it is for me today - it is extremely humbling, gratifying and delightful to have your work recognised by the Academy, and to join the celebrated ranks of previous nominees and colleagues."
Britons Kenneth Branagh, 51, and Albert Nobbs star Janet McTeer, 50, are also in the running for the supporting actor categories.
Branagh, nominated for his performance in Marilyn Monroe biopic My Week With Marilyn, said: "It was a rare honour to play Sir Laurence Olivier. To be recognised by the Academy for doing so is overwhelming. I'm absolutely thrilled."
Steven Spielberg's War Horse, based on the National Theatre play inspired by Michael Morpurgo's novel, is among nine films up for best picture. The film, up for six awards, is pitted against The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight In Paris, Moneyball and The Tree Of Life.