The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films has announced the nominees for this year’s Saturn Awards and they are fairly across the map. There is a strong showing for the usual genre suspects with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” receiving 10 nominations, “Super 8” (fittingly) eight, “Captain America: The First Avenger” seven and “The Adventures of Tintin” and “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol” six each.

But Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” seemed to be held in high favor. The film received 10 nominations, matching "Harry Potter," but the director is also set to receive The George Pal Memorial Award for his “brilliant ode to the triumphant spirit of early cinema" in the film.

“This was a phenomenal year for genre films and TV series, which broadened the horizons of storytelling and technology, bringing audiences new ways to dream,” said Academy President Robert Holguin. “Every one of the nominated films represents a major contribution to science fiction, fantasy and horror and Martin Scorsese truly exemplified what is best about films and filmmaking.”

This Academy was founded in 1972 by film historian Dr. Donald A. Reed to honor and recognize genre entertainment, which, as the organization notes, “is frequently overlooked by mainstream entertainment-industry awards.”

It’s interesting that “Hugo,” a film that isn’t strictly sci-fi or fantasy, and has been honored throughout the awards season this year, is receiving so much of the thunder on this, the 40th anniversary of the organization. Certainly the film has fantasy elements. Its muse and one of its central characters, Georges Méliès, was an early fantasy innovator. The sequences in the third act that merge the worlds of 1930s Paris and Méliès' cinematic heyday have gorgeous fantasy elements (they also happen to be my favorite portion of the film). But “Hugo” is not, fundamentally, a fantasy.

The awards traverse a wide terrain in terms of genre as well as aesthetic merit. Elizabeth Olson is nominated for her gripping break-out performance in “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (which, again, has some elements of horror, but is really a psychological drama) among other notable inclusions. It makes me wonder how and where the nominating body draws the line.

They have made sure to acknowledge Andy Serkis with a Best Supporting Actor nod, but I am surprised that “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (one of the best science fiction films of last year) did not leave a deeper footprint on the nominations. It is also odd that Serkis was relegated to supporting.

In any event, 2012 has all the potential to yield a field of powerful, legitimate sci-fi and fantasy contenders. So we look forward to checking back in with Saturn next year.

The Saturn Awards will be presented at a special ceremony on Wednesday, June 20, in Burbank. Check out the full list of film nominees below. You can read through the TV nominees at the Saturn Awards website. And as always, remember to look back on the 2011-2012 film awards season via The Circuit.

Best Science Fiction Film
"The Adjustment Bureau"
"Captain America: The First Avenger"
"Limitless"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
"Super 8"    
"X-Men: First Class"

Best Fantasy Film
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Immortals"
"Midnight in Paris"
"The Muppets"
"Thor"

Best Horror/Thriller Film
"Contagion"
"The Devil’s Double"
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
"The Grey"
"Take Shelter"
"The Thing"

Best Action/Adventure Film
"Fast Five"
"The Lincoln Lawyer"
"Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol"
"Red Tails"
"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"
"War Horse"

Best Direction
Steven Spielberg, "The Adventures of Tintin"
David Yates, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
Martin Scorsese, "Hugo"
Brad Bird, "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol"
Rupert Wyatt, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
J.J. Abrams, "Super 8"

Best Actor
Antonio Banderas, "The Skin I Live In"
Dominic Cooper, "The Devil’s Double"    
Tom Cruise, "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol"    
Chris Evans, "Captain America: The First Avenger"
Ben Kingsley, "Hugo"    
Michael Shannon, "Take Shelter"

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, "Take Shelter"
Kirsten Dunst, "Melancholia"
Rooney Mara, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo"
Brit Marling, "Another Earth"
Keira Knightley, "A Dangerous Method"
Elizabeth Olson, "Martha Marcy May Marlene"

Best Supporting Actor
Ralph Fiennes, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"    
Harrison Ford, "Cowboys and Aliens"
Tom Hiddleston, "Thor"    
Alan Rickman, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"    
Andy Serkis, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Stanley Tucci, "Captain America: The First Avenger"

Best Supporting Actress
Elena Anaya, "The Skin I Live In"
Emily Blunt, "The Adjustment Bureau"    
Charlotte Gainsbourg, "Melancholia"
Paula Patton, "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol"
Lin Shaye, "Insidious"
Emma Watson, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"

Best Performance by a Younger Actor
Asa Butterfield, "Hugo"
Joel Courtney, "Super 8"
Elle Fanning, "Super 8"    
Dakota Goyo, "Real Steel"    
Chloe Grace Moretz, "Hugo"
Saoirse Ronan, "Hanna"

Best Writing
"Another Earth"
"Hugo"
"Midnight in Paris"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
"Super 8"
"Take Shelter"

Best Costumes
"Anonymous"
"Captain America: The First Avenger"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"
"Thor"

Best Editing
"The Adventures of Tintin"
"Fast Five"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"
"Super 8"

Best Makeup
"Conan the Barbarian"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
"Immortals"
"The Skin I Live In"
"The Thing"
"X-Men: First Class"

Best Music
"The Adventures of Tintin"
"Captain America: The First Avenger"
"Hugo"
"Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"
"Super 8"
"War Horse"

Best Production Design
"The Adventures of Tintin"
"Captain America: The First Avenger"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
"Hugo"
"Immortals"
"Thor"

Best Special Effects
"The Adventures of Tintin"
"Captain America: The First Avenger"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
"Super 8"
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon"

Best Animated Film
"The Adventures of Tintin"
"Cars 2"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"
"Rango"
"Rio"

Best International Film
"Attack the Block"
"The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch"
"Melancholia"
"Point Blank"
"The Skin I Live In"
"Troll Hunter"

For year-round entertainment news and commentary follow @JRothC on Twitter.

Sign up for Instant Alerts from In Contention!