As we head into November, we can start bidding farewell to the summer blockbusters and October slasher flicks. November and December mark the beginning of Oscar bait season. That's right. This is the time when studios carefully roll out their prize magnets, just in time to qualify for the 2010 cut-off, but not too early to slip from the Academy voters' memories when it comes time to decide which movies will get those coveted nominations.

The best Oscar bait story in recent memory likely belongs to 'Girl, Interrupted.' The film unexpectedly launched Angelina Jolie's career, netting her an Oscar. 'Girl, Interrupted' was an Oscar vehicle, yes, but the driver was supposed to be Winona Ryder, not Angelina. What was meant to revive Winona's career instead became a launchpad for one of the most successful actresses of our time. Who'd have thought, at the time, that this plucky unknown actress would eventually outshine her big-name co-star?

This fall/winter movie season will certainly feature a healthy dose of Oscar bait, including the thematic staples of boxing, horse racing and single mothers fighting the man. Oscar regular Paramount Vantage ('There Will Be Blood,' 'An Inconvenient Truth,' 'Up in the Air,' 'Revolutionary Road,' 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button') has a busy couple of months approaching, with an onslaught of award-baiting films including 'The Fighter' and 'Waiting for Superman.' Moviegoers are in for a treat.

It was difficult to narrow this year's crop of transparent Oscar bait down to just 10, but somehow we managed. Here's a list of the top 10 films that are most obviously jostling for a position on the 83rd Academy Awards ballot.
Secretariat
PG2010
Based on 36 critics

Penny Chenery's (Diane Lane) gifted colt gallops into history as a Triple Crown winner in 1973. Read More

Waiting for "Superman"
PG2010
Based on 31 critics

Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim examines the failure of U.S. schools. Read More

The King's Speech
R2010
Based on 41 critics

An Australian actor tries to help Britain's King George VI overcome a speech impediment. Read More

The Social Network
PG-132010
Based on 42 critics

Legal and personal complications follow the founding of popular website Facebook. Read More

Fair Game
PG-132010
Based on 35 critics

Valerie Plame and her husband face the fallout when her cover is blown as a covert CIA agent. Read More

True Grit
PG-132010
Based on 41 critics

A teenager enlists the aid of a boozy, trigger-happy lawman to find her father's killer. Read More

Black Swan
R2010
Based on 42 critics

A ballerina's grip on reality begins to slip as her drive to succeed threatens to consume her. Read More

The Fighter
R2010
Based on 41 critics

Two brothers (Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale) reunite to train for a historic boxing match. Read More

Conviction
R2010
Based on 32 critics

A woman (Hilary Swank) earns a law degree to free her brother (Sam Rockwell) from prison. Read More

The Town
R2010
Based on 42 critics

A bank robber looks for a way out of his criminal life after he falls for a former hostage. Read More

Girl, Interrupted
R1999
Based on 32 critics

A woman (Winona Ryder) stays in a 1960s institution for 18 months. Read More

categories Oscars, Columns