AFI FEST announced on Thursday (20) that the world premiere of DreamWorks-Fox’s Lincoln will close the festival on Nov 8, two weeks before Fox Searchlight drops Hitchcock into the race with a Nov 23 platform release. Looking ahead to next year’s contest, Warner Bros has set a May 10 2013 date for The Great Gatsby.

Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s (pictured) biopic of the 16th US President, stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, Jackie Earle Haley, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader and Jared Harris.

Tony Kushner wrote the screenplay based in part on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’ bestseller Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius Of Abraham Lincoln, about the President’s tumultuous final months in office during the American Civil War. Lincoln is presented in association with Participant Media. Disney’s Touchstone label will release in the US on Nov 16 and Fox International will distribute across the rest of the world.

“Steven Spielberg epitomises American filmmaking,” said AFI FEST director Jacqueline Lyanga, “and who better to tell the story of one of the most significant figures in our country’s history. In this important presidential election year, Spielberg’s Lincoln reminds us that the challenges of the past remain as relevant today.”

Fox Searchlight announced on Thursday it would release Hitchcock on Nov 23. The film stars Anthony Hopkins stars as the eponymous British director and could deliver another heavyweight lead performance to a season that is shaping up to be punctuated by strong male roles. Studio sources said they would mount a campaign.

Sacha Gervasi directed Hitchcock from John J McLaughlin’s adapted screenplay of Stephen Rebello’s Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho.

Ivan Reitman produced with Tom Pollock, Joe Medjuck, Tom Thayer and Alan Barnette. The cast includes Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Jessica Biel and James D’Arcy.

  • Baz Luhrmann directs Warner Bros and Village Roadshow’s The Great Gatsby, the 3D F Scott Fitzgerald adaptation that stars Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton.

Luhrmann co-wrote the screenplay with Craig Pearce and produces along with Catherine Martin, Doug Wick, Lucy Fisher and Catherine Knapman. Barrie Osborne and Bruce Berman served as executive producers.