It could be a night of stars and superlatives at Sunday's 84th annual Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.

Meryl Streep may join the elite three-peat club with a third Academy Award. Jean Dujardin could become the first Frenchman to win best actor. And Christopher Plummer is in line to become the oldest acting winner ever at 82.

Then there's Billy Crystal, the most beloved Oscar host in recent years, returning as ringmaster and "The Artist" favored to become the only silent movie to take the best-picture prize since the first Oscar ceremony 83 years ago.

Competing against "The Artist" for the top honor are the "The Descendants," "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," "The Help," "Hugo," "Midnight in Paris," "Moneyball," "The Tree of Life" and "War Horse."

The Oscar ceremony begins at 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)