Thousands of Oscar nomination ballots were mailed out Wednesday, heralding the official start of Academy Awards season.

U.S. Postal Service bins overflowed with ballots shipped to 5,829 academy members from the film academy's headquarters in Beverly Hills.

Accountants from PricewaterhouseCoopers counted, sorted and numbered the ballots before the massive mail-out. Voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have until Jan. 12, 2008, to return the forms.

Nominees for the 80th annual Academy Awards will be announced Jan. 22. The awards will be presented Feb. 24 at the Kodak Theatre.