Despite its dark themes (slavery and the Civil War are hardly feel-good topics), Lincoln, like other Oscar nominees, has done very well at the box office. Disney has spent about $10 million campaigning for the best-picture prize, hoping for a payoff down the line. DreamWorks hide caption

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As dockworker Terry Malloy in Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront, a young Marlon Brando firmly established himself as a leading Hollywood icon. Criterion Collection hide caption

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Brash ad man Rene Saavedra (Gael Garcia Bernal) brings a youthful, positive energy to a campaign aimed at ousting a dictator in the political drama No. Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

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An overextended Sandy (Jason Bateman) must prevent the raunchy Diana (Melissa McCarthy) from continuing to use his identity as a financial crutch in Identity Thief. Universal Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Universal Pictures

In the Romeo and Juliet-inspired Warm Bodies, a zombie known only as R (Nicholas Hoult) falls in love with Julie (Teresa Palmer), who's still human. Jan Thijs/Summit Entertainment hide caption

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Buster Keaton, aka "The Great Stone Face," brought side-splitting comedy to the silent-screen era. Here, he's pictured in 1924's The Navigator. Kino Lorber hide caption

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Richard (Mark McKinney) and Sanjay (Colm Feore) get up close and personal in the zany backstage comedy Slings and Arrows. Ken Woroner/Acorn Media hide caption

itoggle caption Ken Woroner/Acorn Media

Joe (Bruce Willis) fights a younger version of himself in Looper. Alan Markfield/Sony Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Alan Markfield/Sony Pictures

Cousin Ben (Jason Schwartzman), Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) show that nothing can stand in the way of young love in Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom. Niko Tavernise/Focus Features hide caption

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Monkey See

Bob Mondello's Best Movies Of 2012

NPR's movie critic looks back on 2012 and his picks for the year's best movies.

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CIA operative Joseph Bradley (Kyle Chandler) discusses a sensitive operation with Dan (Jason Clarke). Jonathan Olley/Sony Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Jonathan Olley/Sony Pictures

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) takes a fantastic adventure across Middle-earth in Peter Jackson's prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy. James Fisher/Warner Bros. Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption James Fisher/Warner Bros. Pictures

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise at the Writer's Guild Awards in Beverly Hills in 1998. Ron Wolfson/Landov hide caption

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Peter O'Toole was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as the titular Lawrence of Arabia. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment hide caption

itoggle caption Sony Pictures Home Entertainment