The 84th Annual Academy Awards comes live from Los Angeles on Sunday (February 26, 2012), with several categories wonderfully poised and others looking like foregone conclusions. As has been well-documented, the silent French flick The Artist is almost certain to take home the Oscar for Best Picture, with its director Michel Hazanavicius also likely to take home an award for his filmmaking.
It was Martin Scorsese's movie 'Hugo' that stole the headlines when the nominations were announced in January - the family fable has 11 nods including for Best Picture and Best Director. History suggests the film with the most nominations often takes home the evening's top award, though Hugo beating The Artist would easily be considered the biggest Oscar-upset of the past decade. In the acting categories, George Clooney was the runaway favorite with the bookmakers for Best Actor when the nominations were announced, though he appears to be losing ground to The Artist's Jean Dujardin, who is now joint-favorite. Brad Pitt and Gary Oldman would no-doubt be popular choices for the award, though their well-received turns in 'Moneyball' and 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' respectively are still unlikely to win silverware. Perhaps the tightest category to call at this year's Oscars is Best Actress, with Meryl Streep no longer considered the favorite for her role in 'The Iron Lady'. The Help's Viola Davis is now fancied to take that award, though she faces further competition from Michelle Williams and Rooney Mara.
This year's Academy Awards will be hosted by veteran comedian Billy Crystal, with presenters including Bradley Cooper, Tom Cruise and BEN STILLER.