With award season coming up, fall films are rolling out in time for Academy Award eligibility before the end of the year. Film festival accolades, critics praise and media buzz create speculation about who will be nominated for the Oscars.
Previously released favorites, from Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris to The Help are likely to get recognized, as well as blockbusters like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and indie films such as The Artist.
Actors' performances will also bring attention to films, including Gary Oldman in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Glenn Close for Albert Nobbs, and Johnny Depp's The Rum Diary.
Here are possible frontrunners for the best picture category, to be released this fall:
: September 23 in North America, India in October and worldwide in November.
Starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, the story follows the manager of Oakland, California's baseball team and his effort to create an underdog team that wins through an innovative computer-generated system of drafting players.
Directed by Bennett Miller (Capote) and co-written by Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network), with a cast including Robin Wright (State of Play) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Invention of Lying).
The Ides of March
: October 7 in North America, followed by France, the UK and the Netherlands later in October, then Germany and other markets through February.
Directed by and starring George Clooney, this political drama, based on the play Farragut North, follows an idealistic staffer during a presidential campaign.
Costars Paul Giamatti (Sideways), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt) and Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine).
: November 9 in North America, followed by worldwide releases in 2012.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, with Naomi Watts (Fair Game), Armie Hammer (The Social Network) and Judi Dench (Casino Royale).
Clint Eastwood directs this story about J. Edgar Hoover, the head of America's FBI for almost 50 years. Admired, feared and despised, he had a controversial secret life outside his office.
: November 23 in North America, the UK, France, India and Mexico in December, with other markets rolling out in January and February.
Martin Scorsese's adaptation of the children's book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, this family-friendly fantasy, set in the 1930s, stars Asa Butterfield (The Wolfman) as a 12-year-old orphan who hides inside a Paris train station who seeks to unlock the mystery of his late father's robot.
Also stars Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat), Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass), also Jude Law, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Lee and Frances de la Tour.
: November 23 in North America.
Starring George Clooney in a dramedy directed by Alexander Payne (Sideways).
This story follows an absentee-dad who tries to connect with his daughters after his wife's boating accident and a surprising turn of events that mix comedy with heartbreak. Clooney could possibly compete against himself with The Ides of March.
: December 16 in North America, preceded by France, Russia and Germany
Director Roman Polanski's latest film, based on the award-winning Broadway play, God of Carnage, follows two pairs of parents who meet about their sons' schoolyard brawl only to expose their own conflicts.
Starring a cast of Oscar winners: Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road), Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds), Jodie Foster (The Accused) and John C. Reilly (Chicago).
The Iron Lady
: December 16 in North America, December 26 in New Zealand, the UK January 6, and rolling out through March.
Starring Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent in this portrait of the UK's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The story focuses on the personal price paid in positions of power.
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!), this could earn the actors the nod.
We Bought a Zoo
: December 23 in North America, Hong Kong and the UK, followed by France and the Netherlands, rolls out in 2012 in Germany, Russia and more markets.
Starring Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and Elle Fanning, this story is based on the memoir of Benjamin Mee, a widower who purchased a run-down zoo in the countryside after his wife's death, and saves the zoo and his family.
Directed by Cameron Crow (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous).
: December 26 in North America.
Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the stirring novel and award-winning stage production, the story follows the friendship between a boy and a horse who are separated during World War I, but whose fates continue to be connected.
Starring Emily Watson (Punch-Drunk Love), David Thewlis (Harry Potter) and newcomer Jeremy Irvine.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
: December 25 in North America followed by wide release in 2012.
Starring Tom Hanks (Angels and Demons) and Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) by director Stephen Daldry (The Hours, The Reader).
Based on the bestselling novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, the story follows a nine-year-old amateur inventor, astrophysicist, tambourine player and pacifist, who searches for the lock that matches a key left by his father killed on 9/11.
Costars Viola Davis, James Gandolfini and Max von Sydow.