Los Angeles - Hollywood was on alert on Monday for the looming Oscar nominations which were set to be announced early the following day.
The top contender is silent movie The Artist, a tribute to the golden era of Hollywood, after having picked up a string of awards and nominations including the Golden Globe for best comedy or musical.
The film, by French director Michel Hazanavicius, cemented its frontrunner status over the weekend when it was named Best Picture by the influential Producers Guild of America. The PGA and the Oscars have agreed for the last four years on the Best Picture award.
"When Michel and I dreamed of making The Artist, we dreamed of writing a love letter to American cinema," producer Thomas Langmann said. "We just didn't know that we would get a taste of the American dream."
The Descendants, director Alexander Payne's family drama starring George Clooney, is considered the most likely challenger to the Oscar dominance of The Artist, after being named best drama earlier this month at the Golden Globes.
The nominees for the 84th Academy Awards will be announced in Los Angeles by actress Sarah Lawrence (The Hunger Games) at 05:30 (13:30 GMT) on Tuesday. The Oscar telecast will take place on February 26.
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