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Hollywood primed for (possibly soggy) Oscars night

Published on Feb 28, 2014 10:15 AM
An Oscar statue and poster with host Ellen Degeneres is seen at the 86th Academy Awards nominee announcements in Beverly Hills, California, on Jan 16, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

HOLLYWOOD, United States (AFP) - Hollywood is ready for its close-up on Sunday as stars gather for the most fiercely contested Oscars show in decades, but organisers hope the weather does not rain on their glamorous red carpet parade.

Forecasters predict Los Angeles could have its biggest storm for two years from Friday and potentially through the weekend, when the movie industry's finest come together for the climax of the annual awards season.

Three movies - harrowing historical drama 12 Years A Slave, 3-D space thriller Gravity and 1970s crime caper American Hustle - are leading a packed field for the top prizes.

On the acting front, Cate Blanchett is the hot favourite for her turn in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, while Matthew McConaughey is widely tipped to strike Oscars gold for his portrayal of homophobic Aids activist Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club. Jared Leto's role as Woodroof's unlikely transgender business partner has put him ahead of the field for best supporting actor, and Lupita Nyong'o could take home a statuette for her big-screen debut in 12 Years A Slave.

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