Next Year's Best Picture Nominees
No, it's never too early to predict which films will snag the Academy's spotlight in 2013.
Awards magnet Steven Spielberg adapts Doris Kearns Goodwin's lauded book Team of Rivals, about the 16th U.S. president's handling of the Civil War, with two-time best actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role. It's basically the definition of Oscar bait.
The Great Gatsby
(Dec. 25, Warner Bros.)
Flashy filmmaker Baz Luhrmann takes on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic in 3D. A classy cast (Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire) and big production values make it an early contender. But will it be Moulin Rouge Luhrmann or Australia Luhrmann?
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
(Dec. 14, Warner Bros./New Line/MGM)
Peter Jackson returns to Middle-earth nine years after 2003's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King picked up a staggering 11 Oscars, including for best picture. The biggest challenge for the first of Jackson's two-part, $500 million-budgeted Hobbit? High expectations.
(Dec. 7, Universal)
The King's Speech director Tom Hooper's follow-up to his 2011 best picture winner is an adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel featuring Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) and previous Oscar nominees Russell Crowe (Inspector Javert) and Anne Hathaway (Fantine). Will lightning strike twice?
(Dec. 25, the Weinstein Co.)
Quentin Tarantino's follow-up to his 2010 best picture nominee Inglourious Basterds stars best actor winner Jamie Foxx (Ray) as a slave turned bounty hunter. The Academy loves Tarantino, and awards-obsessed Harvey Weinstein is sure to give the film extra support.
Untitled Bin Laden Thriller
(Dec. 19, Sony)
The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal again collaborate on a military thriller, this time about the daring U.S. mission to kill Osama Bin Laden. The film, which has yet to be shot, is said to aim for commercial audiences. But if it's good, awards attention will surely follow.
(Disney, June 22)
Pixar's return to original storytelling after the sequels Toy Story 3 and Cars 2 should warm critics and the Academy to this tale of a princess forced to put her archery skills to the test.
Beasts of the Southern Wild
(TBD, Fox Searchlight)
The undisputed breakout at January's Sundance Film Festival is a gritty drama with no stars. But it's the only film on this list that people actually have seen and liked, and it should get a strong awards push from Searchlight.
The Dark Knight Rises
(July 20, Warner Bros.)
The Academy's snub of Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight in 2009 is credited with the decision to expand the best picture category beyond five nominees (Nolan's Inception then scored a nom in 2011). The director's return to Gotham City is sure to be among the year's highest-grossing films. Will it score with voters?