Best actress favorite Sandra Bullock
, leading man George Clooney
, Meryl Streep
and Matt Damon
were among the arrivals as anticipation built towards the movie industry's most glamorous annual get together.
Excitement rippled through Hollywood Sunday as a galaxy of A-list stars lit up the red carpet ahead of the 82nd Academy Awards.
Bullock, nominated for her performance in sports tearjerker "The Blind Side," tried to damp down the anticipation surrounding her chances.
"I want to pull the plug on the anticipation," Bullock said. "I question everything. I'm the most pessimistic person when it comes to myself."
Best actor nominee George Clooney
meanwhile dismissed his chances of victory, saying veteran Jeff Bridges
had the statuette in the bag.
"If you were saying to me put all of your property on one thing, I would say put it on that," Clooney told E! television. "I even voted for him."
The stars from science-fiction blockbuster "Avatar" -- nominated for nine honors -- were also in evidence along with director James Cameron.
Cameron arrived flourishing a bright blue pocket handkerchief inspired by the blue-skinned "Na'vi" aliens who are the heroes of his film.
"It's a little Na'vi blue," said best director nominee Cameron, adding that he had not expected his film -- which has earned a staggering 2.5 billion dollars worldwide -- to emerge as the highest-grossing film ever.
"We thought we were going to make some money but not nearly as much as we did," he said. "I'd say we went three times the amount we thought we'd make."
Cameron also played down any suggestion of a "Battle of the Exes" in the best director race, in which his ex-wife Kathryn Bigelow is also nominated for Iraq war film "The Hurt Locker", saying he was "proud" of his former spouse's success. "It's the media trying to apply a narrative from the outside. We don't feel any sense of competition. We're friends," Cameron said.
"She saw Avatar five times."
Bigelow, who will become the first woman ever to win best director if she triumphs tonight, meanwhile said she was honored to be ranked alongside Cameron. "I'm so honored to be in the same conversation as him," she said.
Bigelow admitted she was surprised by the reception given to her tense film about a US army bomb disposal squad.
"I like to think about the work speaking for itself. This film is really touching a nerve," she said.
The war film's leading man Jeremy Renner
, nominated for best actor, meanwhile gave an on-camera tribute to armed forces personnel.
"Thank you for your service. Love you guys," said Renner, who was accompanied by his mother.
Meanwhile Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds
said he was hoping that his friend and "The Proposal" co-star Bullock would clinch the best actress Oscar.
ryone loves a good story and I just think Sandy winning is a fantastic story because it couldn't happen to a nicer person," Reynolds told E! television. "It feels like your good buddy just got drafted to the NBA."
Meanwhile "Up In the Air" star Anna Kendrick
, nominated for best supporting actress, revealed she had suffered a last minute wardrobe crisis before finally settling on her pink gown. "I never thought I would wear pink," Kendrick said. "It was just the right dress."
Another best supporting actress nominee, comedienne Mo'Nique, said she felt privileged to be part of the awards hoopla.
"I'm honored, I'm appreciative," said Mo'Nique, who plays an abusive parent in the harrowing drama "Precious."
The Oscars ceremony gets under way shortly after 5:00 pm (0100 GMT).
"I'm honored for the whole process for what this fantasy land is. It's changed my life inwardly."