The Hurt Locker has reared its head as an early contender for Oscar gold, after it began picking up various awards throughout America. The Katherine Bigelow directed film most recently picked up a critics gong in Boston, and the trades now seem to be getting behind it, making it instantly Oscar worthy.

It is an absolutely cracking film, and although I gave it four stars initially on release, I'd actually up that to four and a half after seeing it a second time. That said, I had the pleasure of attending an early screening of George Clooney starrer Up In The Air and would be shocked if that didn't pick up a barrage of nominations. It's a really marvellous film, and Clooney is genuinely brilliant as the corporate hatchetman, who takes pride in doing his job the right way.

Also in the mix will be Academy favourite Clint Eastwood with Invictus, while Peter Jackson should have a shout with The Lovely Bones, as the Best Film category moves to ten from five. Underdog is the low budget indie film Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, which has been receiving stellar notices since premiering at Sundance last year. Nominations are out in January.