Awards season is upon us and the buzz is building. Here are five of the films you need to catch to join in the big debate over who should walk away with those coveted gongs.
Darkest Hour (released 12th January)
Don't worry if you're getting WWII fatigue. Atonement director Joe Wright's gripping drama takes a completely different approach to that of Christopher Nolan's equally brilliant Dunkirk. The focus here is on the back-room politicking of May 1940, when things were looking pretty grim for Britain.
France and Belgium are on the verge of surrender to Hitler. If that happens, this country will be next to fall. Enter hard-drinking new prime minister Winston Churchill, in whom no one has much confidence. Assisted by prosthetics, Gary Oldman gives an incredible performance as the iconic wartime leader. A major injustice will have been done if he's not nominated as Best Actor.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (released 12th January)
If you've seen In Bruges or Seven Psychopaths, you'll know what to expect from playwright and director Martin McDonagh.
Widely acclaimed as his best film yet, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is another witty, profane, character-driven black comedy with moments of brutal violence. But at its core is the profoundly emotional story of a bereaved small-town single mother (Frances McDormand) who publicly berates the local police chief (Woody Harrelson) for failing to apprehend her daughter's killer.
Juggling these disparate elements is something of a high-wire act, but McDonagh pulls it off with breathtaking ease, getting superlative performances from his ensemble cast.
The Post (released 19th January)
Steven Spielberg is, of course, no stranger to the Oscars, having won Best Director for Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan. Meryl Streep boasts the distinction of having received 20 Oscar nominations – more than any other actor. Tom Hanks also has two Oscars, for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.
Put them all together for the first time and you have what is possibly 2018's highest-powered awards contender. The Post tackles one of those big important stories that Spielberg does so well: the leaking of the Pentagon Papers to journalists working on The Washington post and The New York Times, which revealed the long-running cover-up of US involvement in the Vietnam War. Comparisons with modern US politics and classic Robert Redford/Dustin Hoffman Oscar-winner All the President's Men are inevitable.
Lady Bird (released 16th February)
Many actors like to have a bash at directing sooner or later; few have done so to such huge acclaim as Greta Gerwig.
Perhaps best known as the Golden Globe-nominated star of indie comedy-drama Frances Ha, Gerwig wrote and directed this clever, insightful and funny film, which puts a fresh spin on the coming-of-age drama. It could also give talented Saoirse Ronan the Oscar she so richly deserves, having previously been nominated for Atonement (Best Supporting Actress) and Brooklyn (Best Actress).
Ronan is absolutely riveting as the eponymous, intense 17-year-old Christine 'Lady Bird' McPherson in Gerwig's warm and truthful portrait of female adolescence and the mother-daughter bond.
The Shape of Water (released 16th February)
When a film is described as director Guillermo del Toro's best since Pan's Labyrinth, we naturally pay attention. Like that Oscar-winning 2006 masterpiece, the superbly crafted The Shape of Water blends the fantastical with the horrifyingly real.
Set against the backdrop of Cold War paranoia, this magical tale charts a mute cleaner's bond with an amphibious humanoid that has been captured by a sinister government agent. It's one of the quirkiest, most spellbinding and emotionally satisfying creature features you'll ever see, with a stunning, wordless yet astonishingly expressive central performance by Sally Hawkins.
Which of these movies are you most excited about? Tweet us your responses @Cineworld.