500 Days of Summer
Marc Webb’s quirky romantic comedy was the specialty breakout of the summer, grossing more than $30 million. Writers Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber could find love in the original script category.
Pedro Almodovar reteams with his Oscar-winning leading lady Penelope Cruz. Film wasn’t submitted by Spain for the foreign-language Oscar, but it could factor in the original script race, which Almodvar has won once before.
Jim Sheridan’s remake of Susanne Bier’s 2004 Danish film. Tobey Maguire is the soldier who leaves his wife (Natalie Portman) behind as his brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) steps in. Pic boasts an original U2 song.
Golden Globe comedy noms seem imminent for this summer’s surprise blockbuster, but the Todd Phillips-helmed Las Vegas romp could also find itself in the Oscar zone, thanks to five additional picture slots.
The Last Station
Solid performances by Christopher Plummer (also in “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”) and Oscar winner Helen Mirren drive this historical drama about Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s final days.
Ben Foster is a standout with a nuanced and sincere perf that may tug at voters’ heartstrings in this film from Oren Moverman about a wounded Iraq vet who’s tasked with delivering bad news to fallen soldiers’ families.
A Cormac McCarthy adaptation can’t be counted out of any Oscar race. John Hillcoat directed this faithful adaptation scripted by Joe Penhall. Viggo Mortensen stars as a man who’s determined to bring his son to safety.
Michael Jackson’s This Is It
With 10 picture berths to fill, could a crowdpleasing documentary slip in? Kenny Ortega’s late-entry fall hit proved that things needn’t have been over for Michael Jackson. Pic has already topped $60 million.
Where the Wild Things Are
Spike Jonze’s free-form adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s kids classic could lure adventurous Oscar voters in the script and helming categories, but the pic is more likely destined for art direction and music noms.
The Young Victoria
With Oscar winners such as scribe Julian Fellowes and producers Martin Scorsese and Graham King behind it, the story of Britain’s Queen Victoria (Emily Blunt) and Prince Albert (Rupert Friend) could court kudos.