Clockwise from top left: Zero Dark Thirty, The Hobbit, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Lincoln

Lincoln  
The softly lit, sweepingly scored Oscar-bait drama about the 16th President’s fight to free the slaves could be classic Spielbergian melodrama. But if you don’t get chills listening to Daniel Day-Lewis—as an eerily on-the-nose Abe—say, “Shall we stop this bleeding?” you don’t have a pulse. In theaters now 

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 
First impression when Peter Jackson announced he was going back to Middle-earth for this Lord of the Rings prequel: Sweet! Then, upon hearing he’s wringing three movies out of a single book: Really? Then, after seeing the giant-, dwarf-, and wizard-filled trailer: My precious… Out Dec 14 

 

Zero Dark Thirty 
You hear “action flick about the hunt for an elusive terrorist mastermind” and think schlocky summer B movie. But when the director is Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) and the terrorist is Osama bin Laden, you realize this has the makings of high-stakes, high-tension drama. Out Dec 19

 

Django Unchained 
Slaves! Bounty hunters! Blood-drenched cotton fields! Leonardo DiCaprio as a—wait, what?—skeezy plantation owner! Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino! Think of this revenge tale as the bugnuts yin to Lincoln’s yang. Out Dec 25 

 

Les Misérables 
The epic tearjerker of a stage play about a prisoner’s quest for redemption, adapted for the big screen by Academy Award–winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe…yeah, just go ahead and give it an Oscar now. Out Dec 25