Next Year’s Best Picture Nominees

It’s never too early: THR predicts the 84th Academy Awards front-runners.

The Descendants
(Fox Searchlight)
Buzz is already strong around Alexander Payne’s first film since 2004’s best picture nominee Sideways: a Hawaii-set dramedy starring George Clooney as an indifferent father who reconnects with his kids after his wife is involved in an accident. (Release date TBD)

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Yes, it’s a big-budget American remake of a pulpy Swedish thriller. But don’t count out the Social Network team of director David Fincher and producer Scott Rudin. (Dec. 21)

The Tree of Life
(Fox Searchlight)
Only three months from its planned release, Terrence Malick’s long-delayed drama and its plot remain shrouded in secrecy. But its pedigreed cast (Brad Pitt, Sean Penn) and gorgeous trailer suggest it could play to Oscar voters, who have long loved Malick’s work. (May 27)

War Horse
Steven Spielberg has two films scheduled for December. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn will likely rule the box office, but War Horse, a small, star-free drama about a boy (Jeremy Irvine) who follows his horse into World War I, could resonate with the Academy. (Dec. 28)

Young Adult
Director Jason Reitman, coming off back-to-back noms for Juno and Up in the Air, reteams with Oscar-winning Juno scribe Diablo Cody for a comedic drama about a novelist (Charlize Theron) who returns to her hometown to chase a lost love. (Fall)