The next seven weeks promise to keep cinephiles and avid awards-show addicts plenty busy at the theaters.

Here’s a peek at some of the likeliest candidates to show up on Oscar and Golden Globes nomination mornings; catch them early to get in the awards-season groove:


Premise: Intimate portrait of iconic president in epic production.

Promise: Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” follow-up figures to get out of the gate faster and enjoy a stronger finish. Nominations likely across the board, with stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and writer Tony Kushner enjoying the highest profile.

‘Anna Karenina’

Premise: Tolstoy classic boiled down to a love triangle between the title character, aristocrat husband and the cavalry officer who comes between them.

Promise: Joe Wright’s stylized adaptation split audiences at Toronto. Star Keira Knightley remains in play.

‘Silver Linings Playbook’

Premise: Man moves in with parents after leaving mental hospital and strikes up an unusual friendship with a young widow.

Promise: Toronto audience winner likely to score nods for picture, director David O. Russell, lead Jennifer Lawrence and the great support turn by Robert De Niro. Bradley Cooper a revelation, as well.

‘Life of Pi’

Premise: After a shipwreck, a young man struggles to survive on board a lifeboat alongside a hungry Bengal tiger.

Promise: Ang Lee’s CGI-heavy film won some ardent fans after the N.Y. Film Fest premiere. A possible powerhouse if it catches on commercially.


Premise: Anthony Hopkins portrays the Master of Suspense, depicted while making “Psycho.”

Promise: Hopkins, certainly. With its inside Hollywood story line, the film could resonate strongly with academy members.

‘Rust and Bone’

Premise: An orca whale trainer hooks up with a lunkhead street fighter after losing her leg in an accident.

Promise: Marion Cotillard again in the running for lead actress.

‘Hyde Park on Hudson’

Premise: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Bill Murray) meets King George VI on the eve of World War II.

Promise: The picture is not winning raves, but Murray’s FDR still is a prime attraction.


Premise: An elderly man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) cares for his wife (Emmanuelle Riva) as her life comes to an end.

Promise: Michael Haneke’s intimate drama is a foreign-language shoo-in. Nominations for picture, director and its leads are strong possibilities.

‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Premise: “Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow chronicles the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Promise: The immediacy of this historical tale could separate it from other epics.

‘The Impossible’

Premise: The real-life story of a family swept apart by a tsunami struggles to reunite.

Promise: Naomi Watts’ wrenching turn as a mother won raves at Toronto.

‘Django Unchained’

Premise: A freed slave partners with a bounty hunter to get medieval on assorted evildoers, including the plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) holding Django’s wife.

Promise: Who’s to say academy voters won’t go for this spaghetti western from Quentin Tarantino? DiCaprio looks goofy-great in the trailer.

‘Les Miserables’

Premise: Revolution! Redemption! The popular musical finally comes to the screen!

Promise: If Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper delivers, it could easily score multiple nominations, including nods for leads Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe.


Premise: Retired opera singers reunite in Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut.

Promise: Maggie Smith might be singing lead.

‘Promised Land’

Premise: Corporate salespeople try to persuade small-town residents to sign over drilling rights in an issue-oriented drama from Gus Van Sant.

Promise: When Van Sant (“Milk,” “Good Will Hunting”) plays it down the middle, voters have responded.