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Oscar ballots go out today

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The Oscar race shifts into high gear with the mailing out of ballots today to around  6-thousand or so voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Members are asked to select the Academy Award nominees for 2008 and are given two weeks to return their ballots to the accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The results of the secret ballots will be announced at a 5:30 a.m. press conference on January 22, 2009. A month later on Sunday February 22nd, the 81st Academy Awards ceremony will be held at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

People Magazine’s 2008 Sexiest Man Alive, Hugh Jackman, is the emcee of the live telecast. Jackman can sing, dance, and oh yeah, act.  Also, the 40-year-old hunky Australian’s hosting of the 2004 Tony Awards won him an Emmy.

The show producers, Laurence Mark and Bill Condon, are hoping Jackman adds some new energy and helps revive the lagging ratings of the Oscars. The 81st Academy Awards broadcast will be seen live in more than 200 countries around the globe.

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