(news.sawf.org) - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members must return their ballot papers to auditing giants PricewaterhouseCoopers by 5pm on Saturday January 13 ahead of the nomination announcement in Beverly Hills 10 days later.
A second round of ballots will be mailed out after the nomination announcement where Academy members will cast their decisive votes to determine the Oscar winners at next year's February 25 awards in Hollywood.
Next year's Oscars are promising to be a close fought affair, with several movies all jostling for awards honours in several categories.
Among the front-runners for the coveted best picture honour are Martin Scorsese's bloody crime drama "The Departed" and Clint Eastwood's World War II epic "Letters from Iwo Jima".
Both Scorsese and Eastwood are expected to be among the contenders for best director honours, replaying their duel from the 2004 awards when Eastwood with "Million Dollar Baby" pipped Scorsese's "The Aviator."