Submitted by ub on Sun, 03/02/2014 - 15:15

The 86th annual Oscar ceremony kicks off tonight with a splash from the soaked Dolby Theater.
Ellen DeGeneres is expected to host tonight's telecast with very little chance of surprises.

"Gravity" should lead the ceremony in Oscars for visual effects and cinematography. Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron is considered a lock for best director for seamlessly marshaling new digital technology to render the lost-in-space drama. He could be the very first Latino to win the category.

Other favorites include Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong'o, Matthew McConaughey, and Jared Leto, who've won a parade of awards over the last few months, including Saturday's Spirit Awards. The historical drama "12 Years a Slave," a visually amazing "Gravity" and the con-artist caper "American Hustle" are vying for best picture in the night's closest contest.

Surprises at Academy Awards may be few tonight ... AP looks at how tonight's #Oscars will shake out ...