'Artist' vs. 'The Help': The Final Round!

As a frenzied awards season hits the homestretch, campaigns court endorsements and stars are everywhere.

It's all coming down to the wire. The Academy sent out Oscar ballots Feb. 1; they are due back Feb. 21. In the meantime, campaigns are working overtime.

DreamWorks' The Help received a gold-plated endorsement when Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, showed up Jan. 29 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to present the movie's star Viola Davis with a performer of the year award. The two have become fast friends -- Evers-Williams provided historical advice during filming and testified in an ad wrapped around the Feb. 1 issue of the Los Angeles Times that said The Help is this year's most "socially relevant motion picture."

Not to be outdone, The Weinstein Co. brandished a proclamation from the Los Angeles City Council calling Jan. 31 "The Artist Day" as a thank you for the front-runner movie's contribution to local production.

And the nominees have been everywhere. Moneyball producer and star Brad Pitt hit the Today show and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. On Feb. 6, while he and team Moneyball were appearing at a screening and Q&A at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, buddy George Clooney and The Descendants crew were just as busy across town answering questions at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.