Stars prepare for Oscars ceremony
Published 06/03/2010 | 10:56
Colin Firth, Carey Mulligan and Dame Helen Mirren lead British hopes at the Oscars.
Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the showdown between Avatar and The Hurt Locker which have nine nominations each.
Firth, 49, and Mulligan, 24, who are recent Bafta winners, and Dame Helen, 64, are contenders in the best actor and actress categories at the 82nd Academy Awards.
Firth is nominated for his role as a gay academic in A Single Man, Mulligan for her first starring role as a teenager who gets involved with an older man in romantic drama An Education and Dame Helen for her turn as Leo Tolstoy's wife in The Last Station.
Firth and Mulligan's stars are soaring after both received best acting Baftas last month.
The director and best picture categories are expected to be one of the biggest Oscar battles in years.
They are tipped to be a two-way fight between Avatar's James Cameron and his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow, whose Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker was made for a fraction of the cost of the sci-fi blockbuster.
The Hurt Locker's widespread critical acclaim helped it creep ahead in some recent bookies' odds for the coveted gongs of best film and best director.
The movie cleaned up at the Baftas, scooping six awards, while Avatar, said to be the most expensive film made, won two, both in technical categories.
Bigelow is only the fourth female best director nominee in Oscar history and would be its first winner. Other director nominees are Quentin Tarantino for Second World War saga Inglourious Basterds, a film which is in the running for eight awards, Lee Daniels (Precious) and Jason Reitman (Up In The Air).