Now that one season of speculation is over, let's start another.
Predicting the Oscars is a tricky endeavor. At this point last year, The Artist was on nobody's radar. Then, out of the
blue black-and-white, the charming little silent film brought the Cannes audience to its feet and steamrolled its way to Best Picture, roaring past big Hollywood contenders like Tree of Life, Moneyball, and Ides of March—which we had pegged, one year out, as the early 2012 Oscar favorites.
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Of course, further highlighting the perils of peering into the crystal ball too soon, we had also flagged the Lincoln assassination drama The Conspirator and the Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts midlife-crisis-as-romcom Larry Crowne as likely nominees. The former came and went quietly, while Hanks felt so sheepish about the latter that he reportedly refunded a couple at a gas station the price of their tickets as an apology for its quality.
Nonetheless, predicting is fun. And our batch from last year did include a good number of the eventual nominees. So with caveats voiced, here are the 16 forthcoming films that, at this juncture, look to be the best bets for major category nominations in 2013. From Gatsby in 3D to Sandra Bullock in space to Hugh Jackman singing, here's a look at the likely contenders: