Oscar hopefuls tread the red carpet
Some of the biggest names in Hollywood have paraded down the red carpet ahead of the 84th Academy Awards.
Stars including George Clooney, Jessica Chastain and the star of The Artist, Berenice Bejo, greeted fans, signed autographs and posed for photographers outside the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles ahead of the event.
Bejo, nominated for supporting actress for her role in the film, was accompanied on the red carpet by her husband - the film's director Michel Hazanavicius.
The silent black and white film has 10 nominations, including best film, director, and actor for French star Jean Dujardin. It is the first silent film to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars since the 1928 movie The Patriot.
Double Oscar winner Meryl Streep's turn as Margaret Thatcher has secured the actress her 17th Oscar nomination, while Gary Oldman has clinched his first for his performance as a spymaster. Streep, 62, is favourite to win best actress for her role as the former British prime minister in The Iron Lady - and has already carried off a Bafta award and a Golden Globe for her role.
Dujardin told reporters on the red carpet he was "so proud and nervous" about the possibility of becoming the first Frenchman to win the best actor gong, adding: "But I'm very happy to be here."
There was a moment of comedy when Sacha Baron Cohen arrived - promoting his film The Dictator - dressed in character as Admiral General Aladeen and flanked by two women in military uniform carrying bunches of flowers.
Supporting actor nominee Kenneth Branagh said he felt "no nerves, only excitement at this point" on the red carpet. He said he slept well the night before the ceremony and "got to bed at a reasonable time".
British actor Oldman, 53, who has never been nominated before despite some acclaimed performances, is in the running for best actor for his role as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Only one film - Hugo, Martin Scorsese's 3D ode to early cinema - has more nominations than The Artist, but many of its nods are in technical categories.