The 93rd Academy Awards will take place amid a cloud of uncertainty following a year of upheaval that posed a dire threat to the movie business.
Cinemas around the world spent much of the last 12 months closed to the paying public, slashing box office takings and forcing studios to delay many of their biggest blockbusters.
It is likely the 2021 Oscars – delayed to April from February by the pandemic – will reflect a year like no other, though there are fears within the industry the TV broadcast could follow other awards shows and suffer a historic drop in viewers.
Those who do tune in will see one of the most diverse group of nominees ever, with women and people of colour strongly represented.
And the eclectic mix of films recognised is another break from the past.
Best picture nominees include runaway favourite Nomadland, the black-and-white ode to old Hollywood, Mank, and courtroom drama The Trial Of The Chicago 7.
The others are Judas And The Black Messiah, The Father, Minari, Promising Young Woman and Sound Of Metal.
It could be a good night for homegrown talent – across the 20 acting categories, eight nominees are British.
The Father’s Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sound Of Metal’s Riz Ahmed and Mank’s Gary Oldman are all up for best actor, though it would be a major upset if the late US actor Chadwick Boseman did not win for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Daniel Kaluuya is widely tipped to take home best supporting actor for his role in Judas And The Black Messiah, in a category also containing The Trial Of The Chicago 7 star Sacha Baron Cohen.
Carey Mulligan – star of revenge thriller Promising Young Woman – is up for best actress, alongside Vanessa Kirby for Pieces Of A Woman.
Previous Oscar winner Olivia Colman is nominated for best supporting actress for The Father.
Behind the camera, Emerald Fennell is up for best director for her directorial debut Promising Young Woman while Cornish cinematographer Joshua James Richards is nominated for his work on Nomadland.
The ceremony itself will mostly take place at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, with some elements from the Oscars’ usual home of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
And some nominees will appear from international locations, including London.
Attendees have been told they will not be required to wear masks while on camera, though producers promised face coverings would have a part to play in the broadcast.
There is no host and instead the ceremony’s cast of A-list presenters – including Brad Pitt, Regina King and Harrison Ford – will be entrusted with moving proceedings along.
The 93rd Academy Awards will take place early Monday morning UK time.