Oscars roll out the red carpet

This Is Lancashire: Director Steve McQueen arrives at the Oscars (AP) Director Steve McQueen arrives at the Oscars (AP)

The red carpet has been rolled out for the great and the good of the film industry as the stars gather at the Oscars.

British hopes largely lie with Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, which picked up nine nominations including best film, best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor and best director.

The film, based on the true story of a free New Yorker kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep south of the United States, faces the force of Gravity and competition from crime caper American Hustle at this year's bash.

Both films lead the pack with 10 nominations each including nods for Sandra Bullock and Amy Adams respectively for the best actress Oscar, but Sally Hawkins, who is in the running for the Oscar for best supporting actress, backed her co-star Cate Blanchett to win for her performance in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.

Speaking on the red carpet in Los Angeles, she described Blanchett as "one of the greatest actresses there is".

Among the stars posing for photographers and signing autographs were Adams, Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence.

Lawrence, who famously tripped over on her way to collect her best actress Oscar at last year's ceremony, had another tumble when she fell over on the red carpet tonight but managed to laugh it off.

Matthew McConaughey, who is among the favourites to win, said his best actor nomination for Dallas Buyers Club was "wonderfully sweet".

His co-star Jared Leto, nominated for the best supporting actor Oscar, stood out from the crowd in a white tuxedo and red bow-tie.

Another nominee testing the boundaries of the usual black-tie outfit was singer and rapper Pharrell Williams, who wore a tuxedo jacket with black shorts.

The star is in the running for the best original song Oscar, after his track Happy from Despicable Me 2 was shortlisted, but faces competition from Irish rockers U2 who are nominated for Ordinary Love From Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.

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