It's mid-October and all but a few studios bidding for this year's Oscar glory have laid their cards out for all to see, either in theaters or in festivals ("Saving Mr. Banks," "American Hustle," "The Monuments Men" and -- maybe -- "The Wolf of Wall Street" are more or less the final four potential game changers). So Indiewire has decided to break things down, distributor by distributor. Before the onslaught of For Your Consideration ads and screeners hits (which should happen pretty much any minute now), here's a rundown for 16 studios or specialty distributors (in alphabetical order), each with at least a minimal shot at a major nomination:
Track record: This is the upstart indie distributor's first year at bat, so none to speak off...
2013 MVP: James Franco in "Spring Breakers." It's a longshot, but they've already started a clever campaign for his (deserved) supporting actor bid. Which at least gives A24 their first participation in the overall awards conversation.
Other possibilities: An adapted screenplay push for "The Spectacular Now" is warranted, though overall A24 should reserve its awards season hopes for a strong presence at the Independent Spirit Awards.
Track record: Three year old CBS Films has had a few more shots at awards season than A24, but it's never worked out. The closest they ever came was the surprising (and much mocked) presence of "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen" at last year's Golden Globes.
2013 MVP: "Inside Llewyn Davis." The Coen brothers are an Oscar staple (three of their last 4 films have got best picture nominations), and given the strong reviews on the festival circuit, "Inside Llewyn Davis" has a very good shot at continuing the trend and giving CBS its first (and likely second, third and fourth) Oscar nomination(s).
Other possibilities: None.
Track record: Last year their co-production "Lincoln" was a major contender (and two time winner) and they've consistently had a best picture nominee the last few years ("Up," "Toy Story 3," "The Help"). But the Mouse House has never actually won the top prize.
2013 MVP: "Saving Mr. Banks." We still haven't actually seen it (but that will change in the next week), but the Emma Thompson-Tom Hanks biopic about the trouble surrounding one of the company's own greatest success stories, "Mary Poppins," is still sight unseen Disney's best Oscar bet.
Other possibilities: The animated feature should be characteristically filled with Disney contenders ("Frozen," "Monsters University," "The Wind Rises"), while "Iron Man 3" and "Oz: The Great and Powerful" could manage a few tech nods. But if anythings getting into the major races, it's "Mr. Banks" (sorry "Fifth Estate").
Track record: As Focus says goodbye to its remarkable James Schamus era, it leaves behind a legacy that included multiple best picture nominees including "Atonement," "Brokeback Mountain," "The Kids Are All Right," "Lost in Translation," "Milk" and "The Pianist."
2013 MVP: "Dallas Buyers Club." The Schamus-era Oscar swan song should likely come via Jean-Marc Vallée's AIDS drama, which is all but assured a nomination for best actor Matthew McConaughey. Best picture is less certain, but definitely possible.
Other possibilities: "The Place Beyond The Pines" has an outside shot at a screenplay nom.