As the Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences approach, there may be more surprising winners than first thought. Silent movie The Artist looks set to sweep the board once again, with nominations in the Best Actor; Best Film and Best Director categories, to name but a few. Meryl Streep, who is nominated for Best Actress for her role as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, looked to be a dead cert to win Best Actress but that may be about to change.

According to bookmakers William Hill, the odds on Streep winning went from 4/6 to 6/5. Viola Davis has overtaken her as the favourite to pick up the award for her role in The Help; her odds have risen to 8/13. As for odds on The Artists, it is the 1/12 favourite to win Best Film, with lead actor Jean Dujardin the 8/11 favourite for Best Actor, beating the likes of George Clooney (1/1); Brad Pitt (20/1) and Gary Oldman (25/1) in the betting stakes, at least.

Dujardin's co-star, BERNICE BEJO, on the other hand, isn't the favourite to win Best Supporting Actress; once again, The Help is in the lead, with Octavia Spencer the 1/25 favourite (Bejo's odds are 8/1).

The 84th Academy Awards will be hosted by Billy Crystal; this will be the ninth time he has hosted the prestigious ceremony. Originally, actor and comedian Eddie Murphy was set to host but after a series of disputes, he stepped down from the position.