The nominations for the César Awards -- the French film industry's answer to the Oscars -- were announced this morning, and most of the top contenders were easily seen coming: Oscar hopeful "Amour" received nine nominations, as did historical drama "Farewell My Queen," while "Rust and Bone" and "Holy Motors" scored eight apiece. The field leader, however, may come as a surprise to non-French observers: actress-director Noemie Lvovsky's time-travel comedy "Camille Rewinds," still little seen outside its home country, racked up a massive 13 nods.

Hard-working character actress Lvovsky is a popular figure locally -- could she upset the bigger names to take the top prize? It could happen: the Césars have never been that swayed by international buzz, as when "Seraphine" pushed past Palme d'Or winner "The Class" and crossover hit "I've Loved You So Long" in 2008.   

I'm particularly delighted to see some love here for Francois Ozon's ingenious comedy of manners "In the House" -- #3 in my Top 10 of 2012 -- after the film was largely written out of the lesser French precursors. It nabbed seven nominations, including Best Film, Actor and New Actor for sly young star Ernst Unhauer. That category, incidentally, is uncharacteristically rich: Matthias Schoenaerts features for "Rust and Bone," as does Kacey Mottet Klein for "Sister."

Finally, for those looking for an Oscar-related angle, it's worth noting that "Argo" didn't just score a nomination in the Best Foreign Film category -- it was the only American film to do so. Take that as a sign, if you will, of the broad crossover appeal of Ben Affleck's thriller, which -- bar that one odd Oscar omission -- can't seem to miss a beat this season. It's an incidental detail, but not an uninteresting one.

Full list of nominees below, and at The Circuit.

Best Film
"Farewell My Queen"
"Amour"
"Camille Rewinds"
"In the House"
"Rust and Bone"
"Holy Motors"
"What's in a Name"   

Best Foreign Film 
"Argo"
"Bullhead"
"Laurence Anyways"
"Oslo, August 31st"
"The Angels Share"
"A Royal Affair"
"Our Children"

Best Director
Benoit Jacquot, "Farewell My Queen"
Michael Haneke, "Amour"
Noemie Lvovsky, "Camille Rewinds"
Francois Ozon, "In the House"
Jacques Audiard, "Rust and Bone"
Leos Carax, "Holy Motors"
Stephane Brize, "A Few Hours of Spring"  

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, "Rust and Bone"
Catherine Frot, "Les Saveurs du Palais"
Noemie Lvovsky, "Camille Rewinds"
Corinne Masiero, "Louise Wimmer"
Emamanuelle Riva, "Amour"
Lea Seydoux, "Farewell My Queen"
Helene Vincent, "A Few Hours of Spring"                                                                                

Best Actor
Jean-Pierre Bacri, "Cherchez Hortense"
Patrick Bruel, "What's in a Name"
Denis Lavant, "Holy Motors"
Vincent Lindon, "A Few Hours of Spring"
Fabrice Luchini, "In the House"
Jeremie Renier, "Cloclo"
Jean-Louis Trintignant, "Amour"  

Best Supporting Actress 
Valerie Benguigui, "What's in a Name" 
Judith Chemla, "Camille Rewinds" 
Isabelle Huppert, "Amour" 
Yolande Moreau, "Camille Rewinds"
Edith Scob, "Holy Motors"  

Best Supporting Actor
Guillaume de Tonquedec, "The First Name"
Samir Guesmi, "Camille Rewinds"
Benoit Magimel, "Cloclo"
Claude Rich, "Cherchez Hortense"
Michel Vuillermox, "Camille Rewinds"  

Best Original Screenplay
"Adieu Berthe ou l’Enterrement de Meme"
"Amour"
"Camille Rewinds"


"Holy Motors"
"A Few Hours of Spring"  

Best Adapted Screenplay
"38 Witnesses"
"Farewell My Queen"
"In the House"
"Rust and Bone"
"The First Name"  

Best Cinematography 
"Farewell My Queen"
"Amour"
"Rust and Bone" 
"Holy Motors"
"Populaire"  

Best Costume Design
"Farewell My Queen"
"Augustine"
"Camille Rewinds"
"Cloclo"
"Populaire"  

Best Production Design
"Farewell My Queen"
"Amour"
"Cloclo"
"Holy Motors"
"Populaire"

Best Editing 
"Farewell My Queen"
"Amour"
"Camille Rewinds"
"Rust and Bone"
"Holy Motors"  

Best Original Music
"Farewell My Queen"
"Camille Rewinds"
"In the House"
"Rust and Bone"
"Populaire"  

Best Animated Film
"Edmond Etait un Ane"
"Ernest et Celestine"
"Kirikou et les Hommes et les Femmes"
"Oh Willy"
"Zarafa"

Best First Film
"Augustine"
"Commes des Freres"
"Louise Wimmer"
"Populaire"
"Rengaine"

Best New Actress
Alice de Lencquesaing, "Au Galop"
Lola Dewaere, "Mince Alors!"
Julia Faure, "Camille Rewinds"
India Hair, "Camille Rewinds"
Izia Higelin, "Mauvaise Fille"  

Best New Actor
Felix Moati, "Tele Gaucho"
Kacey Mottet Klein, "Sister"
Pierre Niney, "Commes de Freres"
Matthias Schoenarts, "Rust and Bone"
Ernst Umhauer, "In the House"