Margin Call, for its laser-like focus on the finance world; Cosmopolis, for its denunciation of billionaire excess; GoodFellas, for its sweeping overview of a complex shark-tank of a social subset.
What's it all about?
Leonardo DiCaprio dons sharp suit and nifty tie to step into the (no doubt alligator-skin) loafers of Jordan Belfort, the real-life brokerage maestro whose dramatic brushes with the law also inspired the 2000 film Boiler Room. If the trailer is anything to go by, Belfort functions as a Henry Hill-like guide to this dubious, high-octane world, as well as being seduced and ultimately undone by it.
How did it happen?
This is director Martin Scorsese's fifth collaboration with DiCaprio, though it was in the works before the last one, Shutter Island. Studio nervousness over the elaborate production caused it to be pushed back; it finally got going last year. The script is by Sopranos writer Terence Winter, who worked with Scorsese on Boardwalk Empire.
Nominations it wants
You can't escape the feeling DiCaprio thinks a Scorsese film is his best chance of bagging an Oscar; he got a nom for The Aviator in 2005, but has never made it all the way. He'll be gunning like mad for this one. Scorsese himself has never really been given his due from the Academy (The Departed is his only film that deserves a best picture award? Really?!). Depending on which way the cards fall, it could be his year; then again, he's been slighted so often he may no longer notice.
What it might win
Seems like a very strong candidate, at this distance, for a bunch of the biggies; and add in Matthew McConaughey for best supporting. If it can claim ownership of Kanye West's Black Skinhead, could be a best song there too.
Reasons to fall for it
GoodFellas on Wall Street? What's not to like?
Reasons it might fail
DiCaprio still doesn't always live up to the hype; try as he might, there's an inescapably bantamweight quality to his performances. If Scorsese can harness it correctly, then we're in for a treat. If not, then the whole movie might be sold short.
When can we see it
A textbook awards-season run: US release in mid November (with a splashy world premiere in Russia, it would appear), followed by a genteel global rollout, arriving in the UK two months later.
In four words
Big, bullish and hopeful
More from the Oscar 2014 predictions series
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