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Margot Robbie set to be Oscar bridesmaid

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Margot Robbie (pictured) is Australia's great hope at this year's Academy Awards but Laura Dern is expected to swoop in and take her Oscar (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

Margot Robbie is Australia's great hope at this year's Academy Awards but Laura Dern is expected to swoop in and take her Oscar.

The 92nd Academy Awards get under way in Hollywood on Sunday (noon Monday AEDT) and Dern is the red-hot favourite to win the supporting actress Oscar ahead of Queenslander Robbie.

Bookmakers and Oscar analysts have Dern, a nominee for the third time but never a winner, at unbackable odds to take the statuette for her performance as a high-powered divorce lawyer in Marriage Story.

Robbie, nominated for the second time in her career, received this year's nod for playing a sexual harassment victim in FOX News drama Bombshell.

Little Women's Florence Pugh is the second favourite for supporting actress, with Robbie on the third line of betting.

Robbie's director-producer husband Tom Ackerley appears unlikely to be her Oscar date; Robbie has said she will take her cousin Julia to Hollywood's biggest night.

The best picture race is a thriller with three legitimate chances to take the top prize.

World War I epic 1917 is favourite followed by South Korea's Parasite, and there are plenty of supporters for Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood.

Sam Mendes (1917) is frontrunner for director, but again Parasite's Bong Joon Ho and Tarantino are considered legitimate chances to claim the prize.

Joaquin Phoenix is almost certain to win best actor for Joker, repeating the feat of his good friend Australian actor Heath Ledger, who won a posthumous supporting actor Oscar in 2009 for playing the Batman villain in The Dark Knight.

Renee Zellweger is best actress favourite for her heartbreaking performance in Judy but there is support for an upset, with the only black nominee in any acting category this year, Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), expected to receive plenty of support.

Academy voters were slammed for the lack of diversity in nominations this year.

The academy also declined to nominate a female director.

Repeating last year's decision, the Oscars will not have a host this year with A-List stars taking turns introducing awards.

In a sign of the changing industry, streaming service Netflix led all Hollywood studios with 24 Oscar nominations this year thanks to The Irishman, Marriage Story, The Two Popes, animated movie Klaus and documentary American Factory picking up nods.

© AAP 2020