- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 27, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Academy Awards season is officially on. Nominations ballots for the 84th Oscar show have just gone in the mail.

Oscar organizers mailed ballots Tuesday to 5,783 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Ballots are due back Jan. 13, and Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 24.

The Oscar ceremony is set for Feb. 26, with Billy Crystal returning as host for the first time in eight years.

Among this season’s best-picture prospects are the black-and-white silent film “The Artist,” the Deep South drama “The Help,” George Clooney’s family tale “The Descendants” and Steven Spielberg’s World War I epic “War Horse.”

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