Joe Cavalier, a TV veteran and member of the branch, said that he was "so tired of the same people getting nominated." He added, "I think people should go for dark horses, and other people that I talk to in the academy feel the same way."
But if the choices were a sign of the growing acceptance of independent cinema, they also suggested a shrinking film world. Haneke had won numerous European prizes — including Cannes' prestigious Palme d'Or in two of the last four years. But until Thursday he had never been nominated for an Oscar.
Kevin Hooks, a director who has worked on such TV series as "Prison Break," said he believed "Argo" and "Zero Dark" were hurt because they touched on charged current events.
"I think that it's difficult to dismiss the idea that political controversy has something to do with it. You look at two films that are basically politically themed," he said. "Recent history has shown us that when you have films that are based upon real events that controversy has hurt those films in the past."