The red carpet parade has begun at the 83rd Academy Awards in Los Angeles, with Aussies tipped to take home three Oscars from a field of ten nominees.
The bookies have their money on producer Emile Sherman for best picture favourite The King’s Speech, Kirk Baxter for his editing on The Social Network and make-up artist Dave Elsey for The Wolfman.
If The King’s Speech, which ventures into the ceremony with 12 nominations, gets on a roll Australia could pick up two more upset wins with Geoffrey Rush in the supporting actor category and Tom Hooper in the directing race.
Nicole Kidman, nominated for best actress for Rabbit Hole, and Jacki Weaver, up for best supporting actress for the crime drama Animal Kingdom, will lead the rest of the near-record contingent of Australian nominees down 500 metres of red carpet.
“It has been a huge adventure,” Weaver, nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for the Australian crime drama, Animal Kingdom, told AAP.
“Every day I pinch myself just to check it is real and not a wonderful dream.”
Australia has two nominees in the visual effects category – Ben Snow for Iron Man 2 and Joe Farrell for the Clint Eastwood-directed Hereafter.
Snow, who grew up on a goat farm outside Canberra and is a key part of George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic effects house in San Francisco, has been nominated three other years without a win, while LA-based former Sydneysider Farrell is enjoying his first nod.
Sherman and short-animated filmmaker Shaun Tan are also first-timers.
The King’s Speech’s director Hooper, who holds Australian and British citizenship, is a hot tip to inflict an upset win over Oscar favourite, The Social Network’s David Fincher. Following Hooper’s win at the influential Directors Guild of America Awards last month, the 38-year-old’s odds have been slashed and he sits just behind Colorado-born Fincher.
Elsey, a Brit who moved to Australia 12 years ago to work on the TV sci-fi series Farscape and now declares himself as an Aussie, is the odds-on favourite in the make-up category for his work on the critically-slammed Benicio Del Toro-Anthony Hopkins starring horror film, The Wolfman.
Elsey was nominated one other year, 2006, for the Sydney-shot Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
Kidman, with country music star husband Keith Urban on her arm, will likely be the darling of the Oscar red carpet, but inside the Kodak Theatre her best actress nominated performance in Rabbit Hole is likely to be snubbed by the Academy.
Natalie Portman, who has swept award season, including Saturday’s Independent Spirit Awards for her performance in Black Swan, is the short-priced favourite for the best actress Oscar.
Britain’s Colin Firth (best actor) and David Seidler (original screenplay) are expected to add to The King’s Speech’s Oscar tally, The Social Network’s Aaron Sorkin is the hot favourite for best adapted screenplay while the most lopsided race appears to be in the animated feature category, with Toy Story 3 at almost unbackable odds of 1/100.
Australia’s 10 Oscar nominees falls just short of the record 13 Aussies invited to the 2002 Academy Awards when Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, starring Kidman, and Russell Crowe’s A Beautiful Mind were among the dominant films.