10 January 2013
Last updated at 09:19 ET
Amour tells the story of an elderly couple dealing with the aftermath of a devastating stroke. The French-language drama, from director Michael Haneke and starring Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant, won Cannes' Palme D'Or last year.
Ben Affleck takes the lead role and director's chair for the real-life drama Argo, which dramatises the CIA's attempt to spirit US diplomats out of Tehran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Argo is Affleck's third feature as director and it well and truly banishes the bad role choices he made earlier in his career, establishing him as a film-maker of note.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is set in a cut-off area of southern Louisiana and stars young newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis. She plays Hushpuppy, a poor young girl living with her father. Her world is changed forever when a Katrina-style storm raises the waters and her father falls ill. Wallis has been highly praised for her performance, despite being only seven when filming ended.
Quentin Tarantino's latest film Django Unchained is a pre-American Civil War Western which tells of a freed slave, played by Jamie Foxx, who becomes a bounty hunter on a mission to rescue his wife from a cruel Mississippi plantation owner.
Victor Hugo's classic historical novel Les Miserables is world-renowned in its own right, never mind the award-winning stage musical of the same name. Critics are now tipping the film version for similar glory. It boasts an all-star cast, including Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe, all under the watchful eye of Tom Hooper, the acclaimed director of The King's Speech.
Life of Pi is Ang Lee's adaptation of Yann Martel's Booker prize-winner. It uses arresting CGI to realise Martel's fantastical story of a young Indian sharing a lifeboat with various zoo animals, most prominently a large tiger.
Director Steven Spielberg pays tribute to one of America's most revered presidents with Lincoln. The film concentrates on the last few months of Lincoln's life and his battle to abolish slavery. Daniel Day-Lewis stars, while Sally Field plays his devoted wife.
Silver Linings Playbook is a romantic comedy with a serious edge, dealing as it does with mental illness. Bradley Cooper plays bi-polar disorder sufferer Pat, who is enlisted by Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, to become her partner in a community dance competition. The film is based on the best-selling novel by Matthew Quick.
Zero Dark Thirty is another hard-hitting action thriller from Kathryn Bigelow, the Oscar-winning director of The Hurt Locker. It stars Jessica Chastain as a CIA agent in the fact-based story of America's efforts to capture Osama Bin Laden. The film's title derives from the military term for 00:30, the time US Navy Seals raided Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad in May 2011.