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Leading article: Celebrate the silver screen

It's been an ill-tempered run-up to Oscar night, with back-biting and rule-breaking and recriminations galore. But even in these recession-hit times, the glitz will return the instant they roll out the red carpet.

And the British presence is as strong as ever, what with Carey Mulligan, Colin Firth, Dame Helen Mirren and Nick Hornby, not to mention the screenwriters behind In the Loop and that veteran of Oscar nights, Nick Park.

With 10 contenders for Best Picture, compared with five in previous years, the ponderous proceedings risk being spun out for ever. But with numbers comes variety. We must wait to see where the judges' preferences take them. Will it be small scale or epic? Youth or experience? Past, present or future? Fantasy or life in the raw? As so often when the British are on the march, there will be that special frisson of transatlantic rivalry. Good luck to the away team, we say, even if the next bashful British winner emulates Emma Thompson in banishing the prized statuette to the loo.