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Final Oscar Ballots Are in the Mail

Jamie McCarthy/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- On Wednesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it has mailed the final Oscar ballots to nearly 5,800 voting members.

The members have until Feb. 21 to return the ballots to the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.  The Academy Awards will be held five days later, on Sunday, Feb. 26.

The Artist is considered to be the front-runner for the best-picture Oscar, but given the fact that The Help won the most trophies of any film at the recent Screen Actors Guild Awards, Academy President Tom Sherak believes it's a wide-open race.

He says, "I think any time there's a horse race, anytime you're not quite sure, it's better for the show because people want to see a horse race."

Billy Crystal will host the Oscars telecast on ABC. Sherak says he hasn't heard Crystal's planned jokes for the ceremony, but, he adds, "Billy is very involved, and the show is going to be about movies, the magic of movies."

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