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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 10:18 GMT
Oscars voting enters final hours
Oscars
The Oscars ceremony takes place on Sunday
Voting for this year's Academy Awards is entering its final hours, with the deadline for Oscar choices approaching.

Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have until 0100 GMT on Wednesday - 1700 on Tuesday in Los Angeles - to get their votes in.

Global company PricewaterhouseCoopers will count the votes. Its partners will be the only people to know the winners before Sunday's ceremony.

The ballots were posted to the 5,803 voting members on 4 February.

The winners' names will be sealed in foil-lined envelopes and be held under high security at an undisclosed location while they are counted.

Two PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants will deliver the votes to the ceremony at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre on Sunday.

Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean
Some have likened Depp's pirate to Rolling Stone Keith Richard

Some streets around the venue have already been closed off to allow workers to lay the red carpet for the celebrity arrivals.

The annual security check of the area is being carried out by police and other authorities to ensure the area is safe.

Shock

Security was high in 2002 following the September 11 attacks on the US and again in 2003 with the build-up to the US-led war with Iraq.

While there is no imminent threat this year, police said the levels of security would be the same as the previous two years.

"We are not taking any chances, security will be very tight," said a Los Angeles Police Department official.

The Oscars race has been thrown wide open this year following Johnny Depp's win for best actor at the recent Screen Actors Guild awards.

He won the award for Pirates of the Caribbean - in a surprise victory over the favourites to take the title, Bill Murray and Sean Penn.

All three are also nominated for best actor at the Oscars.

The award for best actress went to Charlize Theron - widely tipped for an Oscar for her role as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the low-budget film Monster.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won the guild's equivalent of the best film prize.


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