There are very few things that the British public love more than a triumphant underdog and the 2010 Oscars did not disappoint. The media coverage in the run-up to the 82nd Academy Awards told the tale of two films. James Cameron’s 3-D science-fiction epic Avatar, made for a reported $237 million, took away an astronomical $2.5 billion at the box office. Nominated for 9 awards, Cameron was looking for Titanic-esque recognition for a project which dates back to 1994 and which has certainly been the most talked-about film event of the past year, if not decade.

Going into the cinema knowing that a film has been nominated for nearly half a dozen Oscars can sometimes do detriment to your enjoyment of it. The expectation that comes with the glitz of the red carpet, long-winded speeches and much-coveted golden statues can detract from the essence of a good script and captivating performances. Luckily, Up in the Air, Jason Reitman’s follow-up to the much-acclaimed and universally-loved Juno (2007), deserves every bit of the attention and potential accolade bestowed upon it.

London’s criminal underworld is a well-known and instantly recognisable stomping ground for Guy Ritchie. After the enormous success of his early films Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Snatch (2000), he has on occasion become a punching bag for critics and movie-goers alike. Revolver (2005) was (in my opinion justly) universally despised and the mixed reviews of RocknRolla (2008) did not give it the praise which it deserved.

The truth of their Occupation during World War Two has always been, and remains, a bitter pill to swallow for the French. The treatment of the most shameful period in their history in the films of some of France’s great directors (Melville, Malle, Ophuls) has been subject to extensive criticism and controversy as well as acclaim and recognition.

The Army of Crime, directed by Marseille-born director Robert Guédiguian, premiered at a special screening at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film revolves around the Resistance activities of the Manouchian group, a band of fervently communist, eastern European immigrants who formed to fight the oppression of the Nazi Occupation of Paris.