The groundswell of goodwill propelling Leonardo DiCaprio towards his first Oscar win appeared to have made a crucial breakthrough yesterday after CNN broadcast footage apparently confirming his Best Actor success - three weeks ahead of the ceremony.
During a report of the Academy Awards luncheon ahead of next month's ceremony, a screen grab showing a plaque with 'Academy Award to Leonardo DiCaprio' was posted online where it was quickly seized upon as evidence that, after four previous unsuccessful nominations, the star of Wolf of Wall Street had finally bagged a statuette.
But, at the risk of quelling fans' excitement, voting for the Academy Awards only begins on Friday, and nameplates are made for every nominee in advance of the ceremony.
Gold plates are added to winners' trophies at the post-Oscars Governors Ball and redundant plaques are recycled.
In 2010, industry insider The Hollywood Reporter, wrote that "R.S Owens, the company that manufactures the Oscar statuettes, will create 197 nameplates - to factor in all the potential winners - in advance. Each engraving will include name, category, film title and year."
DiCaprio, who stars in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street , has yet to win an Oscar despite being nominated four times. So, understandably, his fans are keen for him to finally take home the goods.
Hopes were raised when CNN panned to an engraved plaque during anchor Ted Rowlands' Monday night tour of the Chicago factory that makes the statuettes.
The nameplate read: "Academy Award to Leonardo DiCaprio, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, The Wolf of Wall Street, 2013."
Viewers noticed that the camera quickly moved away from the nameplate, leading many to believe that the US channel had revealed the result by mistake.
Oscars night is not until Sunday 2 March, when Ellen De Generes will host a star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles.
Oscars 2014: Best Actor and Actress nominees
Oscars 2014: Best Actor and Actress nominees
1/20 Cate Blanchett (Best Actress)
Blanchett has been nominated for Best Actress for her role as a deeply troubled New York socialite in Blue Jasmine.
2/20 Sandra Bullock (Best Actress)
Bullock is nominated for her performance as a medical engineer in Alfonso Cuaron's space adventure Gravity.
3/20 Meryl Streep (Best Actress)
Here pictured left with Julianne Nicholson and Juliette Lewis, Streep has earned a nod for her performance as Violet Weston in August: Osage County.
4/20 Judi Dench (Best Actress)
British actress Dench is up for Best Actress for her role as Philomena Lee in Stephen Frears' Philomena.
5/20 Amy Adams (Best Actress)
Adams is nominated for Best Actress for her role as Sydney Prosser in American Hustle - here pictured left with Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence.
Francois Duhamel/ Annapurna Productions
6/20 Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Actor)
DiCaprio has picked up his fourth Oscar nomination - but will he finally win? - for his performance as debauched stockbroker Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street.
7/20 Chiwetel Ejiofor (Best Actor)
British actor Ejiofor has been nominated for an Oscar for his role as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave.
8/20 Matthew McConaughey (Best Actor)
McConaughey is up for Best Actor Oscar for his role as an emaciated AIDS patient who smuggles anti-viral drugs into the US in Dallas Buyers Club.
9/20 Christian Bale (Best Actor)
British actor Bale has earned a nod for his performance as con artist Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle.
10/20 Bruce Dern (Best Actor)
Dern, left, is nominated for his role in Nebraska as elderly father Woody Grant who embarks on a trip with his estranged son.
11/20 Bradley Cooper (Best Supporting Actor)
Cooper, left, has earned an Oscar nod for his supporting role as a wild FBI agent in David O Russell's American Hustle.
12/20 Barkhad Abdi (Best Supporting Actor)
Abdi is up for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a Somali pirate who hijacks Tom Hanks' ship in Captain Phillips.
13/20 Michael Fassbender (Best Supporting Actor)
Michael Fassbender, left, is nominated for his role as plantation owner Edwin Epps in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave.
14/20 Jared Leto (Best Supporting Actor)
Leto has picked up a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role as a transgender AIDS patient in Dallas Buyers Club.
15/20 Jonah Hill (Best Supporting Actor)
Hill has earned a nod for his supporting role as a charismatic salesman in The Wolf of Wall Street - pictured here, left, in a scene with Best Actor nominee DiCaprio.
16/20 Julia Roberts (Best Supporting Actress)
Julia Roberts, here seen embracing Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep, is nominated for her role in August: Osage County.
17/20 Jennifer Lawrence (Best Supporting Actress)
Lawrence has been nominated for her role as Rosalyn Rosenfeld in American Hustle - she won Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook last year.
18/20 Lupita Nyong'o (Best Supporting Actress)
Kenyan actress Nyong'o has earned a nod for her role as Patsey in 12 Years a Slave, here pictured with Best Supporting Actor nominee Michael Fassbender.
19/20 Sally Hawkins (Best Supporting Actress)
Sally Hawkins, left, and Andrew Dice Clay in a scene from the Woody Allen film, Blue Jasmine. British actor Hawkins is nominated for her role as Jasmine's sister Ginger.
20/20 June Squibb (Best Supporting Actress)
Squibb is nominated for her role as Kate Grant, wife of Best Actor nominee Bruce Dern's character in Alexander Payne's Nebraska.
DiCaprio, 39, is nominated for Best Actor alongside Christian Bale for American Hustle, Bruce Dern for Nebraska, Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave and Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club.
McConaughey has been widely-tipped to win Best Actor after he was awarded the Screen Actors Guild's Best Actor accolade. The 44-year old won a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for the same role as AIDS sufferer Ron Woodroof.Reuse content