Hollywood and Los Angeles are more deserted than a ghost town in the Old West, but awards season keeps  chugging along.  Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that 5,777 nomination ballots have been mailed out to eligible members for this year's 82nd Academy Awards.

Members must return their ballots to PricewaterhouseCoopers by 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 23, 2010 or risk not having their votes counted. Prior to mailing, the accounting staff administers a thorough verification process to ensure that there are no duplicate ballots and that none are missing. In addition to being counted and sorted, the ballots are numbered to guarantee that each one is addressed to the appropriate Academy voter.  Yes, there will be no ballot box stuffing for Oscar

Nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater because the Academy still thinks you need to have these on morning TV to find out about them.  Sigh.

In other awards season news...



- The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced that Halle Berry, Colin Farrell and Matthew Fox have joined the rapidly growing list of presenters for the 67th Annual Golden Globes. Ricky Gervais will host the Jan. 17 event which will also include appearances by Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Mickey Rourke, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.  The night when TV and movies come together begins at 8 PM EST/ 5 PM PST live on NBC.

- The Envelope's Pete Hammond believes "Michael Jackson's This Is It" can sneak into the ten nominees for Best Picture.  After "Nine's" box office swoon this weekend, it certainly has a chance.

As the season heats up, look for breaking awards season news and commentary daily on Awards Campaign.  For the latest, follow @HitFixGregory on Twitter.