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Oscar ballots are out; get your votes in

February 1, 2012 |  5:02 pm

Marking the final leg of the Oscar race, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences annnounced Wednesday that it had mailed final ballots to its roughly 6,000 members. (With the move afoot to go to electronic voting, who knows how many times we can say "mailed"?) Voters have until 5 p.m. Feb 21 to return the ballots to the number-crunchers at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In the best picture category, will it be the black-and-white nearly silent film "The Artist," the Southern ensemble piece "The Help," the 9/11 drama "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" or one of the six other nominees?

Will Viola Davis, fresh off a SAG Awards win for her role in "The Help," beat out Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady") in the lead actress category?

BALLOT: Place your Oscar votes

And who will win in the directors’ showdown between Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Terrence Malick ("The Tree of Life"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo")?

For those of us who aren't Academy members, there’s no need to wait for the postman. You can fill out The Times’ interactive play-at-home Oscar Ballot.

Armchair Oscar prophets who need a refresher course can get up to speed by checking out our Cheat Sheet guide to films, actors and directors; the Heatmeter rankings of who's hot and who's not; and the Buzzmeter pundits' predictions.

After you’ve made your selections, you can share your picks via Facebook and Twitter, or print them out for your Oscar pool. We’ll find out the winners Feb. 26.


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— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Oscar show producers Don Mischer, left, and Brian Grazer. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times