"Where the Wild Things Are" — Director Spike Jonze's adaptation of the classic children's book by Maurice Sendak could be a strong contender in the crafts categories. Stars include past Oscars champ Forest Whitaker plus Catherine Keener. (Warner Bros.)
"Amelia" — Director Mira Nair ("The Namesake," "Hysterical Blindness") dramatizes the life of pioneer aviator Amelia Earhart (Hilary Swank). Could be a contender in all top Oscar races. If Swank gets nommed again for best actress, she may be formidable. The two-time champ has never lost an Oscar smackdown. (Fox Searchlight)
"A Christmas Carol" — Robert Zemeckis (Oscar winner, "Forrest Gump") directs Jim Carrey as Scrooge in a 3-D adaptation of the Dickens classic. May be major contender in tech races. (Walt Disney)
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" — Director Lee Daniels adapts the shocking book about a lonely obese ghetto teen (Gabourey Sidibe) who's been raped by her father (resulting in two pregnancies) and physically abused by her mom (Mo'Nique). This film delivers the same kind of emotional wallop as "Slumdog Millionaire" — and could go the same distance in the next Oscar derby. After sweeping the top awards at the Sundance and Toronto film festivals, it's a front-runner in all top races: best picture, director, screenplay, lead actress and supporting actress. (Lionsgate)
"Broken Embraces" (New York debut; L.A. release Dec. 11)
Photos: Warner Bros., Fox Searchlight, Lionsgate
Note: An earlier version of the blog post incorrectly identified Spke Lee as the director of "Where the Wild Things Are." Actual director is Spike Jonze. Benicio del Toro is not in the cast.