Zero Dark Thirty

Awards season kicked off in earnest this week with two major critical bodies - New York Critics and the National Board of Review - both naming the Osama bin Laden raid thriller Zero Dark Thirty as their film of the year. Jessica Chastain stars in the movie, which reunites director Kathryn Bigelow with The Hurt Locker writer Mark Boal. The new trailer promises another exciting, intense military action drama.

Another major awards contender is Tom Hooper's film of the epic musical Les Miserables, with a high-powered cast including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried. All of them attended the glitzy red carpet world premiere in London this week. The film opens in America on Christmas Day, and in Britain in early January.

Meanwhile in New York, Matt Damon is out promoting Promised Land, which reunites him with Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant. The film is about the controversial impact of natural gas drilling in small-town America. On his way to talk about it on David Letterman's chat show, he took the time to speak with fans in the street and sign autographs. Eventually, he also stopped to pose for a few paparazzi photos.

The Hobbit

Also outside David Letterman's studio, Martin Freeman waved to demanding photographers and signed autographs on his way to talk about the first film in Peter Jackson's new trilogy based on JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit. An Unexpected Journey, opens around the world next week.

Seven Psychopaths

Before the Christmas cinema season hits, distributors are sneaking a variety of films into the cinemas this weekend. In the UK there's Seven Psychopaths, which reunites Colin Farrell with In Bruges filmmaker Martin McDonagh, plus colourful costars Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken. While in the US, Bill Murray plays US President Franklin Roosevelt in Hyde Park on Hudson, a comedy about Britain's King George and Queen Elizabeth's visit to America just before WWII broke out. 

And coming next spring, Admission stars the always loveable Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. It's a comedy about the people who decide who gets into university, but of course they have issues of their own. Directed by Paul Weitz (About a Boy), the new trailer makes the film look smart and warmly funny.

Rich Cline