Lady Bird

“‘I just want you to be the very best version of yourself that you can be.’ This line, spoken to the titular Lady Bird by her mother, serves to sum up the message of the film. A classic coming-of-age comedy, filled with writer/director Greta Gerwig’s characteristic wit and honesty, Lady Bird traces the story of Christine McPherson as she clumsily makes her way through high school in California, dreaming of college life in New York. Warm, touching, and highly quotable, this directorial debut is a must see, covering aspiration, high-school crushes and everything in between.” – Cat Leyland

Darkest Hour

“Much has been made of Darkest Hour for Gary Oldman’s transformative and unrecognisable performance as Winston Churchill, who completely disappears and inhabits the role. Surely Oldman is a dead certainty for the win after triumphing at the Golden Globes and also winning the SAG Award. Darkest Hour recounts Churchill’s first month in office and his mission to win over those initially sceptical and hostile towards him at the critical moment in the height of the Second World War. As well as Oldman’s performance, the film is well shot by Bruno Delbonnel. It has multiple memorable images, Delbonnel painted a suitably dark and gloomy picture of the perilous time this film is set in.” – Oscar D. Huckle

Dunkirk

“Nolan did not disappoint with his latest release, Dunkirk has become the highest-grossing World War II film of all time. Starring everyone from Kenneth Branagh to Harry Styles (who is surprisingly decent), the movie focuses on the 1940 evacuation of over 330,000 soldiers from Dunkirk beach through three different perspectives: land, sea, and air. The storylines twist and combine into a tense 106-minute evacuation epic, all shot in glorious 65mm film and underlined by a score that is quintessentially Zimmer.” – Matt Nixon

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

“After clearing up at the Golden Globes, award prospects look promising for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It is the long overdue follow-up from playwright / director Martin McDonagh after In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths, both brilliant, the former one of my personal favourite films of all time. Three Billboards is another triumph – a biting drama that is blackly comic, heartfelt, consistently entertaining and takes many unexpected diversions in its original narrative. There are multiple moments that genuinely invoke shock and awe.” – Oscar D. Huckle

Call Me By Your Name

“Call Me by Your Name is a beautiful love story, set in sun-drenched Northern Italy, that just happens to take place between two men. With fantastic lead performances from newcomer Timothée Chalamet and the previously underrated Armie Hammer this may be one of the strongest examples of chemistry in a recent film. If the Academy decides to reward this film, which is seemingly the LGBT representation of 2017, this will be the second film centring on a gay relationship to win Best Picture after Moonlight’s win last year. This aside, it would be a well-deserved win for one of the best films of the year.” – Dan Struthers

The Post

“The fact that a Spielberg film is nominated for Best Picture should surprise no-one, but maybe the reported story that he paused work on upcoming Ready Player One because he was so passionate about this story, or the allusions to current politics, or the fact it stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, may suggest this is more than the usual Spielberg flick. The film follows the real-life events of the Washington Post and their acquisition of the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s, and the dilemmas faced by the publisher of the Post (Streep). It goes without saying that the script is wonderful and Streep and Hanks give, as usual, fantastic performances. The film also stars the forever under-rated Bob Odenkirk, who is poised to make a breakout any time now.” – Tom Bedford

Get Out

“Jordan Peele’s satirical horror-thriller (or as the Golden Globes would have you believe, comedy?) is a scathing indictment of white liberal values, taking a wholly original approach to the topic of racism. Making good use of twists, wordplay and foreshadowing, Peele’s film embraces a narrative that, in any other hands, would seem ludicrous. Daniel Kaluuya is game too as the unsuspecting protagonist, but it’s the script – one that keeps on giving with each rewatch – that props Get Out as one of the more deserving Oscar nominees.” – Gus Edgar

The Shape of Water

“A fantasy thriller set in American 1960s, The Shape of Water explores relationships, humanity and the power of body language. The protagonist, a mute night-time cleaner, is beautifully played by Sally Hawkins as you follow her developing a relationship with a humanoid reptile kept captive at her place of work. As she attempts to save him from the eerie and terrifying Richard Strickland, a story of humanity becomes that of rescue and romance, focussing on character and feeling. This beautifully coloured film will climb deep into your heart, as difficult emotions are played out through physicality rather than dialogue.” – Evlyn Forsyth-Muris