Come tomorrow morning, France may well be in a state of national jubilation: its homegrown film, The Artist, stands a good chance of sweeping the Oscars, replicating its success at the recent Golden Globes, where it won three - including one for best film in the comedy or musical category.
The Artist is up for 10 awards at the ceremony at Los Angeles' Kodak Theatre tomorrow morning (Hong Kong time), including biggies such as best picture, director and actor.
The film's run on the awards circuit has been extraordinary, as has been the critical praise piled on it and its solid box-office success. The Artist is, after all, a black and white film packed with unknown actors (except for John Goodman and James Cromwell), has almost no dialogue, and had been made for the relatively paltry sum of US$15 million. It's up against the morass that's The Tree of Life, the sweetly nostalgic Midnight in Paris and crowd-pleasers such as Hugo and The Help. Its director, Michael Hazanavicius, will vie for the best-director Oscar with such greats as Martin Scorsese for Hugo and Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris.
And yet, The Artist has more than a passing chance of claiming gold because it is essentially an underdog - and people love those. Look at what happened in 2010, when The Hurt Locker, another low-budget film, went home with the best-picture award, beating out the high-octane Avatar - which made that particular event one of the most interesting in recent Oscar history.
And The Artist is not just confined to the best film category: as fascinating as it might be to watch George Clooney (The Descendants) and his buddy Brad Pitt (Moneyball) duke it out over their respective best-actor nods, there is almost no question The Artist's Jean Dujardin will nab it.
He's not the only sure thing either. The word in Hollywood entertainment circles is that if anybody other than Viola Davis wins for best actress in The Help, and colleague Octavia Spencer for best supporting actress, then that would be a travesty.
They won their respective categories at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards last month.
They have worthy competitors: Meryl Streep is up for best actress in The Iron Lady, but that film has failed to truly ignite, while The Help seems to have resonated so deeply with movie-goers the Academy is almost certain to reward the women who star in it.