The Oscars are the world's best known movie honours, with the annual awards show broadcast live to more than 200 countries and typically watched by more than 30 million people each year. Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Contenders for the world's best-known movie awards, Hollywood's Oscars, are being unveiled in Beverly Hills, Calif., this morning.
Thor and Rush star Chris Hemsworth will join Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to release the names of the nominees for the 86th annual Academy Awards, beginning at 8:38 a.m. ET.
Among the films considered frontrunners are the searing drama 12 Years a Slave, crime caper tale American Hustle, space saga Gravity, kidnap-at-sea thriller Captain Phillips and '80s trader portrait The Wolf of Wall Street.
Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée's Dallas Buyers Club is also a likely an Oscar contender for its widely praised performances by actors Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto as a pair of unlikely, HIV-positive alternative medicine procurers/providers.
Many of the front-runners are based on real-life stories.
Acting performances that have earned praise this season include Sandra Bullock in Gravity, Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence of American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tom Hanks as the titular Captain Phillips.
The Oscars are the culmination of the annual movie awards season, with the star-studded, lengthy televised gala broadcast live to more than 200 countries and typically watched by more than 30 million people worldwide.
Hosted by talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, the 86th Academy Awards will take place Sunday, March 2, at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles and will air live on ABC.
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