A Bengal tiger will be among the pack chasing Oscar

Keira Knightley stars as Anna in director Joe Wright's bold, theatrical new vision of the epic story of love "Anna Karenina."
Keira Knightley stars as Anna in director Joe Wright's bold, theatrical new vision of the epic story of love "Anna Karenina." Laurie Sparham /Focus Features release

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.

'LINCOLN'

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 love triangle between title character, aristocrat husband and the cavalry officer who comes between them. In theaters Nov. 16.

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, strikes up unusual friendship with young widow. In theaters Nov. 21.

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, young man struggles to survive on board a lifeboat alongside a hungry Bengal tiger. In theaters Nov. 21.

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

'HITCHCOCK'

Premise: Anthony Hopkins portrays the Master (of Suspense), depicted while making "Psycho." In theaters Nov. 23.

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

'RUST AND BONE'

Premise: Orca whale trainer hooks up with lunkhead street fighter after losing her leg in an accident. In theaters Nov. 23.

Promise: Marion Cotillard again in 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. In theaters Dec. 7.

Promise: Picture is not winning raves, but Murray's FDR still a prime attraction.

'AMOUR'

Premise: Elderly man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) cares for his wife (Emmanuelle Riva) as her life comes to an end. In theaters Dec. 19.

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

'ZERO DARK THIRTY'

Premise: "Hurt Locker" director Kathryn Bigelow chronicles the hunt for Osama bin Laden. In theaters Dec. 19.

Promise: Immediacy of this historical tale could separate it from other epics in the pack.

'THE IMPOSSIBLE'

Premise: Real-life story of family swept apart by tsunami struggles to reunite. In theaters Dec. 21.

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

'DJANGO UNCHAINED'

Premise: Freed slave partners with bounty hunter to get medieval on the (behinds) of assorted evildoers, including the plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) holding Django's wife. In theaters Dec. 25.

Promise: Quentin Tarantino's last gonzo period story, "Inglourious Basterds," scored a best pic nom, so who's to say academy voters won't go for this spaghetti western? DiCaprio looks goofy-great in trailer.

'LES MISERABLES'

Premise: Revolution! Redemption! The popular musical finally comes to the screen! In theaters Dec. 25.

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.

'QUARTET'

Premise: Retired opera singers reunite in Dustin Hoffman's directorial debut. In theaters Dec. 28.

Promise: Maggie Smith might be singing lead.

'PROMISED LAND'

Premise: Corporate salespeople try to persuade small-town residents to sign over drilling rights in issue-oriented drama from Gus Van Sant. In theaters Dec. 28.

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

Daniel Day-Lewis portrays Abraham Lincoln in the film
Daniel Day-Lewis portrays Abraham Lincoln in the film "Lincoln." David James/AP Photo/DreamWorks and Twentieth Cent
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