This year’s Oscars are set to take place in Hollywood on Sunday night – with black and white silent film The Artist hot favourite to pick up the top prize for best picture.

The movie, about a silent film actor trying to reclaim his career during the talkies era, has already picked up a host of pre-Oscar prizes, including the Bafta for best film earlier this month.

And it has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including nods for leading actor Jean Dujardin and co-star Berenice Bejo, as well as director Michel Hazanavicius.

However it faces competition from Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, which is the year’s most nominated film, picking up nods in 11 categories.

Others hoping to win the coveted best picture award include Steven Spielberg’s War Horse, the George Clooney drama The Descendants, Brad Pitt blockbuster Moneyball and the 60s-set civil rights drama The Help.

Meanwhile Meryl Streep is heavily tipped to win her third Oscar – following awards for Kramer vs Kramer and Sophie’s Choice – for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

However the actress, whose latest nomination is her 17th, is facing a strong challenge from Viola Davis, who is nominated for her role in The Help.

British hopefuls include Gary Oldman – whose role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has landed him his first ever nomination – Janet McTeer, up for best supporting actress for Albert Nobbs, and Kenneth Branagh, who is hoping to take the best supporting actor trophy for My Week With Marilyn.

The ceremony, at Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre, will once again be hosted by comedian Billy Crystal.