Oscars mystery solved: ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ makes 2013 race

So much for all that speculation that “The Wolf of Wall Street” would not get released in 2013. Paramount will unspool this hot Oscar prospect from Martin Scorsese beginning Christmas Day.

The picture, based on the bestselling memoir by Jordan Belfort, had been skedded tentatively for Nov. 15, but the Oscar-winning director (“The Departed”) and his cutter — three-time Oscar champ Thelma Schoonmaker — needed more time to bring it in under three hours and ensure it avoided an NC-17 rating. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as the disgraced financier who ran roughshod in the 1980s and 1990s. 

This marks the fifth collaboration between director and actor. Their first two — “Gangs of New York” (2002) and “The Aviator” (2004) — both reaped Best Picture bids while their third time proved the charm as “The Departed” (2006) won the top prize as well as Best Director. (Their fourth was the thriller “Shutter Island,” which got bumped from late 2009 to early 2010 as it was not considered Oscar fare)

DiCaprio did not reap an Oscar bid for “The Departed” due to confusion as to whether he was in lead or supporting; instead, he was nominated for Best Actor for “Blood Diamond” but lost to Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”). The pair may well face off again for Best Actor this year as Whitaker is showcased in “The Butler.” 

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