Why We're Still Pysched: The movie, set before the Civil War, reunites McQueen with Fassbender and gives Ejiofor his first starring role in a major awards contender. McQueen has compared the actor to Sidney Poitier, and we can think of no higher compliment.


Cast: Will Forte, Bruce Dern
Director: Alexander Payne
Release Date: Nov. 22

Danger: A black-and-white drama about a father and son traveling through the sparsely populated plains state. Has all the making of a box office smash, right?

Why We're Still Psyched: Payne has never made a bad movie and may have made his best to-date his last time out with "The Descendants." "Nebraska" was already nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, where Bruce Dern won the Best Actor prize. 


Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Release Date: Dec. 6

Danger: Besides Leto and Garner?

Why We're Still Psyched: This movie became Oscar bait once McConaughey lost a ton of weight to play an AIDS patient. Given his performances in everything from "Killer Joe" to "Magic Mike," we can't wait.


Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garret Hedlund, Justin Timberlake
Director: Joel and Ethan Coen
Release Date: Dec. 6 (limited release); Dec. 20 (roll-out expansion)

Danger: It's a movie about the New York folk music scene in the 1960s starring an actor nobody knows. While the Coen brothers have plenty of commercial hits, this particular subject limits them at the box office.

Why We're Still Psyched: Three reasons: The Coen brothers, who make writing and directing classic movies look easy. The reaction at Cannes, where everyone who saw it said it was fantastic and an immediate contender for Best Picture. Goodman, who has had a supporting role in the last two films to win Best Picture. He's also in "Monuments Man"; it's a Clooney-Coen showdown.

For the record: An earlier version of this story said that Alexander Payne's last movie was "Moneyball." Payne did not make "Moneyball." His last movie was "The Descendants."