Between a wide-open picture field and wiggle room in other races, here are the dozen other films with the best shot at serious Oscar attention.
This colorful adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s novel earned kind words for Paul Giamatti, Dustin Hoffman and Rosamund Pike on the fall fest circuit.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s been an Oscar non-factor since her win for 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love,” but this portrait of a country singer could be her comeback.
“For Colored Girls”
In a shockingly white award season, Tyler Perry offers an ensemble boasting top black talents — most notably Kimberly Elise as an abused victim.
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Swedish thesp Noomi Rapace embodies the iconic title character in this high-profile literary adaptation.
“How Do You Know”
The title pretty much sums up this one’s chances. Sight-unseen, there’s only writer-director James L. Brooks’ track record to go on (eight noms, three wins).
“I Am Love”
Passion personified, Tilda Swinton gives a forceful turn in this foreign sleeper, playing a Russian matriarch (who delivers all her lines in Italian, no less).
“Love & Other Drugs”
After a career of Oscar-friendly pics, director Ed Zwick returns to TV-style storytelling with a sexy comedy starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.
The clear analogy here is “Seabiscuit” (seven noms), though this movie’s done a fraction of its B.O., with only Diane Lane still lingering in the horse race.
Last year, Kathryn Bigelow became the first female helmer to win an Oscar. Sofia Coppola’s been nommed before and saw her latest win Venice’s top prize.
“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”
Michael Douglas won actor for the original, but part two angles him for supporting (with lead hopes tied to “Solitary Man”).
“The Way Back”
Peter Weir’s epic has inspired comparisons to David Lean, following gulag escapees’ disputedly true trek from Siberia to India. Ed Harris is a standout.
“You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger”
Could “Dark Stranger” be a dark horse? Woody Allen’s modest earner could sneak an original script nod — or more.