The lack of nominations for Affleck was also surprising. When "Argo" was released in October, it looked like it was going to be the actor-director's year.
"Before November, the nominees (for best picture) would have been 'Argo,' 'Argo,' 'Argo,' 'Argo,' 'Argo' and 'Argo,' " wrote Grantland's Wesley Morris. Instead, though the film received seven nominations, Affleck was left off both the directing and acting lists. He was recognized for the adapted screenplay, and he co-produced the film with George Clooney and Grant Heslov, so he's on the best picture list -- but he'll have to wait for the other trophies.
Tarantino remains a critical and popular favorite -- "Django" has grossed more than $100 million domestically in three weeks -- but he failed to impress the academy with his directing prowess. The movie, however, picked up best picture and best original screenplay nominations. (David O. Russell, who directed "Silver Linings Playbook," earned the fifth slot in the directing category.)
Tarantino is still better off than Wes Anderson, whose "Moonrise Kingdom" picked up just one nomination, for original screenplay.
The overlooked directors and other creative types -- such as the people of "Skyfall" (five nominations, but none in major categories), "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (three nods) and "The Master" (three nominations, but no love for the film or writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson) -- can always blame the system.
The academy's voting process became more difficult this year with the addition of online technology that proved more complex than Florida's infamous butterfly ballot. According to industry news sites, the system contained so many safeguards that academy members found it difficult to cast their ballots. Some voters were so frustrated they visited the academy headquarters in person on the last day of voting -- Friday, extended one day because of the issues -- to make sure their votes were recorded.
"Next year I'm signing up for a paper ballot," one academy voter told Deadline Hollywood's Pete Hammond.
But the system did shine on one unexpected recipient: "Ted's" Seth MacFarlane, who's hosting the Oscar show and co-hosted Thursday's nomination announcement with Emma Stone. He got a nomination for co-writing one of the original song nominees, "Everybody Needs a Best Friend."
"I guess I'm going to the Oscars," he cracked.
The rest of the nominees might want to take lessons from the nomination leader. After all, it's no surprise a movie about a politician knows how to count votes.
The 85th Academy Awards are scheduled for February 24 on ABC. The show will air from the Dolby Theatre -- formerly known as the Kodak Theatre -- in Los Angeles.