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Get your Oscar Ballot in today, see official Academy photos of Ellen DeGeneres

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Do you have that Oscar ballot lingering around? Make sure you fill it out and get it in today!

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Chances are you don't have one, because there are only about 6,000 members total, and their membership are kept very secret. I have half a dozen friends (1/1,000 of the membership) who are Academy members, and in the past I had a friend who asked me to help him with his ballot (an older actor who has since died), but I've never been able to predict the winners with their help because they are mostly very eclectic voters and none of their picks ever win. (By the way, just telling your picks could get you some severe backlash from the Academy, and I can't even tell you who they are!) But, for the most part, it's easy to figure out in the Academy because one way to get in is to get a nomination, and then you get an invite to become a voting member.

Here's the latest from the Academy, and check out pix of Ellen in the gallery!

Nominations voting for the Oscars will close on Wednesday, January 8, at 5 p.m. PT.

The votes are being tabulated and verified by the international accounting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The 86th Oscars Nominations Announcement will be held on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The presentation, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

The Academy launched its Oscar season with a trailer starring show host Ellen DeGeneres and 250 tuxedo-clad men and women dancing to “The Walker” by indie pop band Fitz and The Tantrums. The Oscars® will air Sunday, March 2, 2014, live on ABC.

“I had the best time making this,” said DeGeneres. “I love Paul, I love tWitch, I love Fitz and I like most of the Tantrums.”

Paul Feig, a new Academy member, conceived and directed the trailer, which was choreographed by dancers Stephen “tWitch” Boss and Allison Holker. Feig’s directorial credits include “Bridesmaids,” “The Heat” and the upcoming comedy “Susan Cooper,” starring Melissa McCarthy.

“To work with Ellen, tWitch Boss, Allison Holker and 250 amazing dancers to the music of Fitz and The Tantrums to promote the Oscars for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was an absolute dream come true,” said Feig. “Just typing that sentence made me giddy and exhausted. I’m going to lie down now.”

The trailer will run in theaters nationwide beginning January 3, 2014. It also can be viewed on the Academy’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/Oscars.

Fitz and The Tantrums’ “The Walker” is the new single from their critically acclaimed second full length release, “More Than Just a Dream,” on Atlantic/Elektra Records. The band’s first single, “Out of My League,” went #1 on Billboard’s Alternative Song Chart.

Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The presentation, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, will also be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

What do you think are contenders?

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