In the 1940s, a group of men unite to try and save history in the alternative World War II epic that is The Monuments Men. They’re not attempting to bring down the Fuhrer, infiltrate a lab to steal secrets or secure a key territory in the fight against fascism though; they’re preserving culture by protecting the architecture and history of an endangered people.

Watch the Monuments Men trailer

The film is led by a ridiculous cast, consisting of the Oscar darling George Clooney, the ever-busy Matt Damon, the irrepressible Cate Blanchett, cult comedy heros Bill Murray & John Goodman, and the multi-talented Bob Balaban.

Having triumphed in a backroom role with Argo at last year’s Oscars – he proudly smiled behind a frantic Ben Affleck – Clooney is very much taking center stage with Monuments Men. He writes, directs, produces and stars in the period comedy-epic, meaning an Academy Award for any one of those disciplines is all but inevitable.

It looks beautiful, too. Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael – the man behind the visuals in The Descendends, Walk the Line and The Pursuit of Happiness – and the vast camera department have produced a rich tapestry on which the screen talent will apply intricate patterns. Don’t be surprised to see cinematography and editing nomination come its way.

As so is often the case, big name films with fancy trailers can crash and burn when people actually see the full-length feature. We’re handed out statuettes to films based on sleek 1m30s snippets before, and we won’t be tempted to do it again.

Saying that, we will absolutely be tempted into handing out nearly every award for Monuments Men. Best Actor, fill your boots Clooney. Fancy a Best Supporting gong? Well Damon, Blanchett and Murray are all in the queue for that one. And when it comes to the Best Picture and Best Director nods, well, let’s just say Clooney shouldn’t shave that moustache off just yet. Grab your combs, fellas.

We like: an original twist on a well-trodden path, the magnificent cast, Clooney’s facial hair.

We don’t like: the lofty expectations that threaten to doom this picture.

Monuments Men posterMonuments Men Poster - Is Damon leading things here? Could he be in for the Best Actor nod?