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Earlier independent releases might creep into the best-picture race, among them the youthful dramas “Moonrise Kingdom” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” But that depends on the late-comers premiering over the next three months.

Along with “Lincoln,” “Les Miserables,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hobbit,” the lineup includes Robert Zemeckis’ airline drama “Flight,” starring Denzel Washington; the Alfred Hitchcock tale “Hitchcock,” with Anthony Hopkins as the filmmaker, Helen Mirren as his wife and Scarlett Johansson as “Psycho” co-star Janet Leigh; Quentin Tarantino’s Civil War-era bounty-hunter saga “Django Unchained,” featuring Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio; and the shipwreck story “Life of Pi,” from director Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain”).

Contenders rarely talk about their prospects, but they do welcome the fun of the Oscars and the attention they bring to the films.

“I mean, you get to go in a tuxedo and stuff. Blah blah. And you know, if your mother’s around, you can take your mother or something,” said Bill Murray, a potential best-actor nominee as Franklin Roosevelt in “Hyde Park on the Hudson.” “But the cool thing is that people always say there’s Oscar buzz, but Oscar buzz only means people are talking about your movie. Which means more people go see your movie. That’s all I care about. I just want people to see it.”