<p>Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem in Sam Mendes' &quot;Skyfall.&quot;</p>

Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem in Sam Mendes' "Skyfall."

Credit: Sony Pictures

Contender Countdown: Could 'Skyfall' land James Bond a best picture nomination?

Plus: Who drops out of the top 10?

When is an Oscar Bait picture not an Oscar bait picture?  Or, if it meets the qualifications of an Oscar Bait picture should it always be considered one?

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Can Michael Peña break through with 'End of Watch'?

Can Michael Peña break through with 'End of Watch'?

Veteran supporting actor has paid his dues

Like many moviegoers across the country this weekend, you may have bought a ticket for David Ayer's new drama "End of Watch" instead of the more hyped offerings such as "Trouble with the Curve" or "House at the End of the Street."  And guess what?  You made the right choice.  One of the better reviewed movies recently, "Watch" follows the working relationship and off the clock friendship between two LAPD officers played by Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena.  Gyllenhaal is already being positioned as a contender in the very, very competitive best actor race, but the film's best chances at awards recognition may just be with Mr. Pena in the supporting category.*

*And yes, I clearly realize you could make the argument Pena should also be in the lead field, but SAG and Oscar should buy the supporting claim (maybe).

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<p>Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway in Tom Hooper's big screen version of &quot;Les Miserables.&quot;</p>

Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway in Tom Hooper's big screen version of "Les Miserables."

Credit: Universal Pictures

Watch: 'Les Miserables' sets itself apart by singing live on set

Awards contender makes its pitch

Over the last decade or so, filmmakers have stretched and played with the movie musical structure in pictures such as "Chicago," "Across the Universe," "Moulin Rouge," "Dancer in the Dark" and "Dreamgirls."  When it was announced director Tom Hooper would follow up his Oscar-winning work in "The King's Speech" with a big screen version of the classic musical "Les Miserables," the question was how would Hooper differentiate this adaptation?  The answer is revealed in a new behind-the-scenes featurette Universal Studios released today.

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<p>Sir Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock in &quot;Hitchcock.&quot;</p>

Sir Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock in "Hitchcock."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

'Hitchcock' crashes the awards season party with a last minute November release

HBO's 'The Girl' arrives a month earlier

Get ready for a lot of Alfred Hitchcock over the next few months. 

Fox Searchlight made a surprise announcement this morning that Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock" will open in theaters on Nov. 23.  This was unexpected as "Hitchcock" was in production just this past Spring and while Searchlight felt they had something special on its hands, they didn't believe they could get manufacture all the necessary trappings of a proper awards season prestige campaign in time.  The studio is so enamored with the film they've decided to take the chance.

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Jake Gyllenhaal isn't kidding when he says making 'End of Watch' 'changed my life'

Jake Gyllenhaal isn't kidding when he says making 'End of Watch' 'changed my life'

First ride along featured a murder

TORONTO - It may seem like a silly cliche or easy hyperbole for an actor to claim their life has changed because of a role in a movie, but after looking into Jake Gyllenhaal's eyes its hard to dispute his claim.  The 31-year-old actor trained more for David Ayer's "End of Watch" than any previous role and what he went learned to play LAPD officer Brian Taylor has clearly stuck with him.

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<p>Martin Freeman is Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's &quot;The Hobbit:&nbsp;An Unexpected Journey.&quot;</p>

Martin Freeman is Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Adventure and comedy await in new 'Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' trailer

Plus: Gandolf and Elrond foreshadow the danger that awaits

For months, industry buzz has centered on how Warner Bros. plans on marketing Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" more to families than the previous "Lord of the Rings" films.  Of course, "Rings" drew in tons of families and fans of all ages, but New Line's campaign at the time generally centered on the novels' epic and dramatic themes.  The primary goal was for audiences to take the world of Middle Earth seriously.  The "Lord" films would take you on a grand adventure, but there were dark and serious consequences at every turn. J.R.R. Tolkien's predecessor to the "Rings" books, "The Hobbit," has its scary moments, but was a little, well, lighter.  Warner Bros., MGM and New Line released the latest and perhaps final trailer for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" this morning and that broader tone is starting to seep through.

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<p>Is this &quot;Argo&quot;&nbsp;image foreshadowing John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Ben Affleck celebrating in tuxes on Oscar Sunday?</p>

Is this "Argo" image foreshadowing John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Ben Affleck celebrating in tuxes on Oscar Sunday?

Credit: Warner Bros.

Contender Countdown: 'Argo' is on the lookout for frontrunner killers

And who are the darkhorses to crash the 10?

Yes, Oscar faithful, we're back. It's time to play another round of contenders vs. pretenders in the always entertaining awards season game.  Are you excited yet? (On second thought, don't answer that.)

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in &quot;Silver Linings Playbook.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'Silver Linings Playbook' beats 'Argo' for Toronto Film Festival People's Choice Award

'Seven Psychopaths' wins People's Midnight Madness award

The Toronto International Film Festival announced this year's award winners and moviegoers in the Great White North have once again found a way to influence the always competitive Oscar race.

David O. Russell's adaptation of Matthew Quick's novel "The Silver Linings Playbook" won the notable People's Choice Award this year.  Ben Affleck's "Argo" and Eran Rikli's "Zaytoun" were first and second runners up. "Playbook" now joins "Slumdog Millionaire," "The King's Speech" and "Precious" as recent awards season players who were able to snag the festival's most publicity worthy honor. Even if it doesn't lead to Oscar glory, the win certainly is a key indicator that The Weinstein Company may have a much needed box office smash waiting in the wings.

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<p>Chris Evans at the Toronto International Film Festival press conference for &quot;The Iceman.&quot;</p>

Chris Evans at the Toronto International Film Festival press conference for "The Iceman."

Credit: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim

Chris Evans on his indie 'Iceman' break after a year of playing 'Captain America'

Someone's not looking forward to getting back into the gym

TORONTO – This is pretty close to the best of times for Chris Evans. After years of trying to breakthrough to superstar status he finally hit the A-list as Steve Rodgers in Marvel Studios’ blockbuster “Captain America: The First Avenger” last summer.  Well, to be fair, he likely solidified himself his global popularity after “The Avengers” was released in May.  Over $1.5 million in ticket sales later and you can be sure little boys and girls all over the world will always recognize Evans’ face.

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<p>Amy Adams talks about her new role in Paul Thomas Anderson's &quot;The Master.&quot;</p>

Amy Adams talks about her new role in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master."

'The Master's' Amy Adams says Paul Thomas Anderson was funnier than she expected

Three-time Oscar nominee reflects on one of the standout performances of her career

TORONTO - Sitting down with Amy Adams last week during the Toronto International Film Festival, there was only one thing on the agenda and it probably wasn't what you'd expect it be.  No, I didn't ask her about playing Lois Lane in the upcoming Superman reboot "Man of Steel."  And, no, there wasn't time to ask her what she thoughts were of her "Trouble with the Curve" co-star Clint Eastwood's now iconic speech to an empty chair at the Republican National Convention two weeks ago.  Instead, the topic of conversation had to be regarding her incredible performance in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master."

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