The London-born star, who holds British and Irish citizenship, was recognised for his role in the US historical drama Lincoln, as the shortlist for the film industry's top awards were revealed.
If Day-Lewis wins he will become the first to win the Best Actor title three times, after triumphs with There Will Be Blood (2008) and My Left Foot (1989).
He is shortlisted alongside Hugh Jackman (for Les Miserables), Denzel Washington (Flight), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) and Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), but bookies have made Day-Lewis favourite to win.
Disney Pixar film Brave, which is set in the Highlands and features the voices of Kelly Macdonald and Billy Connolly, is also up for an Oscar after it was shortlisted for Best Animation.
Another British star nominated is Naomi Watts, who is up for Best Actress for her role as a tsunami survivor in Impossible, where she stars with Ewan MacGregor.
Delighted Watts said: "The journey of telling Maria Belon's miraculous story of survival has been an incredible experience and I am so grateful for this acknowledgement of our film.
She is up against Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), 85-year-old Emmanuelle Riva, (Amour) and nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts Of The Southern Wild).
Singer Adele is up for Best Musical Score for the Bond movie theme Skyfall.
In all, Lincoln got 12 Oscar nods, while Life Of Pi received 11.
The awards are on February 24.