22/02/2012 16:49 GMT | Updated 23/04/2012 10:12 BST

Oscars 2012: Viola Davis Is A Late Favourite For Best Actress Award, Meryl Streep Now In Second Place

Meryl Streep's grip on the Best Actress Oscar at this year's Academy Awards is slipping - The Help star Viola Davis has been installed as last-minute favourite for the prize.

Experts have tipped Streep for glory since the nominations were announced last month, and the actress was the runaway favourite to take the honour for her critically-acclaimed role as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.

Bookmakers in the UK were so convinced she would win the award they came close to paying out in advance to avoid catastrophic losses - but just days ahead of the prizegiving on Sunday it's emerged Davis is on the verge of an upset.

Leading bookies William Hill are offering odds of 8/13 on Davis taking home the Oscar for Best Actress with Streep slipping to second favourite at 6/5.

A spokesman says, "We came close to paying out on Meryl Streep winning the award for best actress as she was considered that much of a certainty to win. Now, with just a few days to go, she is not even the favourite."

The Oscars are this Sunday in LA. HuffPostUK will be bringing you all the red carpet arrivals, gossip and winners as they happen.