This year's Oscar nominations have been announced, with The Artist overcoming critical backlash in recent weeks to lead the nods in the big ten awards.
The silent film has scooped five nominations in the main categories, including a nod for Best Picture. Its fiercest Oscar competitors are Brad Pitt's Moneyball, The Descendants and The Help which all racked up four.
However, Martin Scorses's 3D film Hugo got the most nods overall with 11, including all the technical categories. The Artist scored 10 nominations in total.
The French flick - about Hollywood's transition from silent movies to "talkies", coupled with a heartwarming love story - has already taken the biggest share of top prizes throughout awards season, most recently at Saturday's Producers Guild of America Awards ceremony.
But that hasn't stopped contrary voices from attempting to burst the frontrunner's bubble.
Veteran critic Leonard Maltin wrote on his indieWIRE blog: "The Artist isn't the second coming: it's a charming story that successfully emulates the look and feel of the late 1920s."
Despite the film, which stars Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo and Uggie the dog, facing accusations of being nothing more than the Emperor's New Clothes and an example of the film industry's fascination with itself, it has already taken home a trio of honours from the Golden Globes, and leads this year's Baftas with 12 nominations, including Best Film and Best Director.
It shared top honours at the Golden Globes with Hawaii-based family drama The Descendants. But the Oscars can only have one winner.
The 84th Academy Awards take place on Sunday 26 February at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood.
This year's host is comic actor Billy Crystal, after the departure of Eddie Murphy, the original host.
SLIDESHOW: The Oscar nominees in pictures...
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